Originally Posted by grking
I find it odd that a teacher would say that most of the school's problems are not money related (not to say they all are), given the poor physical condition of a large percentage of schools, old/outdated textbooks, old or lacking technology present in a large percentage of schools, and having teachers buy supplies out of their own pocket. Many teachers could/would do quite a bit more if there were more money.
I didn't say that I'm a teacher. I said that I've taught before.
It doesn't matter. I know enough teachers well (and have family members who are teachers) and they confirm my belief.
Note that I never said that more money wouldn't help. Teachers shouldn't have to buy supplies out of their own pockets. And they could probably do more if there was more money. But that's not the PRIMARY problem.
The biggest problem with education is simply that most kids just don't care. They come from homes where education is not valued, they place no priority on education, and the students have no reason to work hard. Why do you think that there's such a huge disparity between, say, black students and white students' scores in the same district? (or, on the other extreme, why do second generation Asian students typically do better than either group - in spite of language difficulties?) They all get the same amount of money (actually, under some formulas, the minority students get MORE money), yet black students typically (not always, but usually) score far lower than whites and Asians typically score higher. It's because of things that are beyond the school's control.
Or ignore the racial differences. There's an enormous difference in scores between family income groups. Those who have higher family incomes always score far higher (on average) than those with lower family incomes. Studies consistently show that it's largely a matter of parental involvement in education and a commitment to education that accounts for the difference.
On top of that are the government mandates which contribute nothing to education, but detract from the real purpose. Every teacher I know grumbles about all the things they have to do so satisfy the government but which take time from real education.
Or, look at the comparison I made earlier - which you conveniently ignored. My daughter's private school has a >95% passing rate on standardized "No school left behind" tests. Our local public schools run around 60% (some as low as 40%, a few as high as 80%). Yet the private school has less money per student than the public school.
Or, look at it on a macro scale. Countries which spend only a fraction of what we spend on education do better than we do in some cases.
Clearly, money isn't everything. It's just the easiest one for legislators to pretend to do something about. Until the underlying problems are addressed, more money doesn't solve anything. At best, it might help to slow the rotting.