Your kill the bureaucrats argument of the day

Newark public schools spend $19,650 per pupil, but only $9,604 reaches the classroom. Charters spend $16,400, but $12,664 reaches the classroom.

Actually, not just kill, gut, spavin and spit roast the bureaucrats argument of the day.

20 thoughts on “Your kill the bureaucrats argument of the day”

  1. So Much For Subtlety

    It is not just pointless bureaucracy that eats up the money. It is security. Students need to be frisked and go through metal detectors. Some School Districts now have sizable police forces in their own right.

    If I could remember the source I would look up someone who compared some American school district’s Security officers with the number of policemen in some parts of the UK.

    It is those damn Amish I expect.

  2. The “reaches the classroom” comparison is BS. The source for those numbers says “reaches schools”. The reason is that the Newark public school system centralizes a lot of admin stuff.

    Detailed analysis here (starting on page 8).

  3. SJW: Correct. How much of that $12k that Charter Schools get goes to centralised admin?

    I had this argument 15 years ago when I was involved in local government in England. Local Management for Schools wanted to push all school funding directly to schools for them to decide what to spend it on. Most Primaries squealed in pain saying they were too small to deal with the admin, could they group up and buy back the admin centrally from the LEA. So on paper it looked like Primaries were receiving less money from the LEA because the LEA were doing their admin for them.

  4. Bloke in North Dorset

    jgh,

    But didn’t the paper trail show that the money went to the primary school first and then back to the LE in the form of buying a service? If not then how else can they decide if they are getting VfM?

  5. A teacher friend of mine was so against her school becoming an academy a few years ago, as it would just become a faceless/souless corporation obsessed with money, efficiency and all those capitalist/neoliberal/etc… sophistries.

    Come present day, and I was very surprised to hear her say recently in a conversation a propos something else, how well managed it was with everything planned, organised and delivered compared to its previous state. The predicted meltdown has not occurred.

    Funny old world.

  6. jgh,

    If the LA is bidding for funding from primaries, it will be against (theoretically at least) market entry from others, so will have to be more efficient than if it just receives the money from above. So, assuming the primaries’ governors have the sense to check value for money, then that would be a preferable system.

  7. @ljh

    If the admin tasks related to a school are too big for the school to carry them out, maybe that suggests there’s too much admin.

  8. What stood out to me was the claim that students in charter schools learned almost twice as much. The 7 1/2 months for reading and 9 months for math Mr Weber cites is far less vague. After seeing the attrition data compared to scores I am left to wonder if all the charter schools really did was to kick out the lowest performers.

    Since our current primary and secondary schools are failing our children anyway we might as well make some large scale changes. The key is to not have everyone do the same thing. The DEA needs to be done away with and education responsibilities returned to the states. I would say to lower taxes corresponding to the move but the money is needed to reduce the deficit first. With 50 states each attempting different methods there is a much better chance to find good ideas than the current system. If that means that charter schools are the way to go than so be it.

  9. “I am left to wonder if all the charter schools really did was to kick out the lowest performers.” The quickest way to improve schools for most children is to kick out the disrupters. If the latter correspond to the low-performers, and most of them probably do, then you get two bangs for your buck.

  10. dearieme would you advocate sending those disrupters to the school that teachers them how to be a prison inmate with the option to return to the real school if they learn the lesson?

  11. I can’t remember the exact details, it was almost two decades ago, but the problem was that a typical primary school had admin tasks that would, eg, require 0.2 of an accountant. But that 0.2*accountant comes with much more than 0.2*overhead of the school obtaining them directly. Pooling all the 0.2*accountants into the LEA reduced the overhead so the primary school could buy 0.2 of an accountant for very close to 0.2 of the cost of an accountant.

  12. jgh, yes, in theory, except that LEA employment practices meant that it cost a lot more than 0.2 of the cost of hiring an accountant.

    What schools are starting to do is join together to hire admin and management staff between them, but it’s a slow process; headmasters and governors generally seem to be scared to cut the apron strings from the LEA.

  13. I can’t remember the exact details, it was almost two decades ago, but the problem was that a typical primary school had admin tasks that would, eg, require 0.2 of an accountant. But that 0.2*accountant comes with much more than 0.2*overhead of the school obtaining them directly.

    That sounds more of a problem with insisting the school hires people directly than using a contractor. It is for exactly these reasons that part-timers were invented.

  14. There’s a nice line on the Spectator blogs, about Cameron sending his sprog to a private school:

    “Nicky Morgan is the kind of Education Secretary who is good enough for other people’s children, not your own”

  15. “I am well off therefore am willing to pay for my children to enjoy a better education than can be funded through general taxation and forced through against the reflexive and trenchant opposition of the teaching unions to any form of change,” is not (unlike many of his Labour colleagues’ actions on a similar matter) a morally inconsistent position to hold.

  16. “Cameron sending his sprog to a private school”: well he’s decided not to stand for PM again, hasn’t he? Otherwise he might have had to use the Blair manoeuvre: wangle his children into the most privileged state school he could find, and hire tutors from a public school to pop round in the evening and repair the damage.

  17. “typical primary school had admin tasks that would, eg, require 0.2 of an accountant”

    Just be thankful they didn’t require 0.2 of a professor

  18. I could defend a politician sending their sprog to private school. It could be the cost to add a program the child needs is higher than the private school. If his sprog need intensive remedial courses he is actually doing the country a favor. In that case he is a hero for protecting his sprog’s privacy instead of using it for political capital. Given that Cameron professes to be human I doubt that is the case.

  19. @LY,

    When you see the damage 1 or 2 disrupter can do to a class of 30, you’d realise that prison school for them is better for the other 28 or 29 who tend to be forgotten usually. As a school governor, it was an eye opener.

    In actual fact, those kids go to specialized schools and they are a huge drain on resources, notwithstanding the fact that the class they left has to make up the ground it lost.

    Shockingly, parents are rarely held to account. Not that I could see anyway.

  20. @ Liberal Yank
    “I could defend a politician sending their sprog to private school. It could be the cost to add a program the child needs is higher than the private school.”
    The boy is much, much, less likely to get beaten up on a regular basis at a private school. To hell with Spectator bloggers.

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