Thursday, February 24, 2011

Fire All Wisconsin Public School Teachers

That is the advice of a wingnut at the oh-so-angry Townhall site. Terry Jeffrey makes that recommendation on this basis:
By 2008, Wisconsin was spending $10,791 per pupil in its public primary and secondary schools. Yet, in the 2009 NAEP reading test, Wisconsin public school eighth-graders again scored an average of only 266 out of a possible 500. Only 34 percent earned a rating of "proficient" or better in reading.
When the $7,123 per pupil Wisconsin spent in its public schools in 1998 is adjusted for inflation, it equals $9,408 in 2008 dollars. Thus, even though Wisconsin increased per pupil spending by $1,383 dollars from 1998 to 2008 (from $9,408 to $10,791), it did not gain a single point on its average eighth-grade reading score.
Wisconsin had similar results in math. In 1996, the state's public school eighth-graders scored an average of 283 out of 500 in math. In 2008, they scored an average of 288 out of 500 -- or 1 percent higher than in 1996.
As bad as they are, Wisconsin's tests scores are slightly better than the national average for public-school students.


Does anybody do better with less money? Yes.
In 2009, the eighth-graders in Catholic schools averaged 281 out of 500 on the NAEP reading test -- 19 points higher than the average American public school eighth-grader and 15 points higher than the average eighth-grader in a Wisconsin public schools. On the math test, eighth-graders in Catholic schools averaged 297 out of 500, compared to an average of 282 for eighth-graders in public schools nationwide and 288 for public school eighth-graders in Wisconsin.
In the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, as noted on the archdiocese's website, Catholic elementary school tuitions range from $900 per child at St. Adalberts in Milwaukee to the $5,105 for a non-parishioner child at St. Alphonsus in Greenhdale.
In addition to being less expensive and better than public schools at teaching math and reading, Catholic schools -- like any private schools -- can also teach students that there is a God, that the Ten Commandments are true and must be followed, that the Founding Fathers believed in both and that, ultimately, American freedom depends on fidelity to our Judeo-Christian heritage even more than it depends on proficiency in reading and math.
OOh! We get the guy god and the founding fathers and the fidelity to an Abrahamic religion, too! What fun private schools are, to be sure, especially as Jeffrey also states this:
What every state in the union ought to do is take a look at the public school teachers protesting in Wisconsin, take a look at the test scores for the nation's public school students, take a look at the $10,000 per year it typically takes to keep a child in a public school and pass new laws with three simple provisions: 1) every parent of every child in every school district in the state shall receive an annual voucher equal to the per-pupil cost of maintaining a child in the state's public schools, 2) they shall be entitled to redeem this voucher at any school they like, and 2) the state shall not regulate the private schools, period.
Even more fun! Schools can have asbestos and rats and stuff and cannot be regulated. And note that Jeffrey's private school proposal would certainly make madrasas possible and tax-funded.

But before we get all carried away, it's worth pointing a huge difference between public and private schools: The latter can kick students out if they don't perform sufficiently well, the former cannot. And where do the students go who were kicked out of private schools?

To the public schools which can't refuse them.