Dropout Factories: 1 in 10 American High Schools

1 in 10 schools are ‘dropout factories’ – Yahoo! News

It’s a nickname no principal could be proud of: “Dropout Factory,” a high school where no more than 60 percent of the students who start as freshmen make it to their senior year. That description fits more than one in 10 high schools across America.

“If you’re born in a neighborhood or town where the only high school is one where graduation is not the norm, how is this living in the land of equal opportunity?” asks Bob Balfanz, the Johns Hopkins researcher who coined the term “dropout factory.”

So long as the drop-outs are voluntary, it’s unclear how “opportunity” is implicated. Perhaps twenty percent of the people who started my senior year with me failed to graduate; I don’t recall feeling persecuted as a result.

The highest concentration of dropout factories is in large cities or high-poverty rural areas in the South and Southwest. Most have high proportions of minority students. These schools are tougher to turn around because their students face challenges well beyond the academic ones — the need to work as well as go to school, for example, or a need for social services. Utah, which has low poverty rates and fewer minorities than most states, is the only state without a dropout factory. Florida and South Carolina have the highest percentages.

That’s not really an education issue, per se. Surely, it’s not the school’s fault if students have bad home lives or need to quit school to get a job. Nor is it clear how it impacts the students who stay; after all, Florida and South Carolina have some excellent universities and seem to be able to fill them year after year.

“Part of the problem we’ve had here is, we live in a state that culturally and traditionally has not valued a high school education,” said Jim Foster, a spokesman for the South Carolina department of education. He noted that residents in that state previously could get good jobs in textile mills without a high school degree, but that those jobs are gone today.

Presumably, people will figure this out in short order, no?

We need to disaggregate the problems here: There are bad schools out there which are incompetently run, unsafe, or otherwise faill to prepare students for life after graduation. This is an educational problem with an educational solution. We also have poverty. While somewhat related to education, to be sure, it’s mostly a social-cultural and economic problem.

The nexus is that bad schools are often in bad neighborhoods, where social breakdown, lack of positive adult role models, and a low tax base make it difficult to adequately fund education and attract good teachers and parents do a poor job of prioritizing their children’s education. Given that we haven’t the slightest clue as to how to fix the bad neighborhoods, it would seem that the next best solution — and certainly the fastest — would be to get the kids out of the bad schools.

Some sort of voucher system might help in this regard but it’s not a hundred percent solution. It’s not practical if bad neighborhoods are clustered. Nor will it much matter if the parent(s) don’t care about their kids’ education.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Nor will it much matter if the parent(s) don’t care about their kids’ education.

    I suggest that, if parents don’t care about their kid’s education, then nothing short of terminating parental rights is likely to improve the situation significantly.

  2. Hal says:

    Where’s the schools that they can go to if there was a voucher system? As has been consistently shown, the vast majority available are religious schools. I don’t know if you’ve actually priced private, non religious schools, James. But they don’t take poorly performing – or even average performing – students. And any voucher you and your fellow “get your grubby hands off my money” cohorts on the right will fund wouldn’t be even close to the tuition if they would take them.

    This whole voucher meme is just bizarre as a solution.

    The schools are broken because we won’t pay for them. We used to have a vast pool of cheap, highly skilled teachers in the form of women who couldn’t find other work. Now that’s changed. We don’t even pay teachers at the median salary, and we have vastly underfunded the rest of the system. And the response from the right is to use the power of a non-existent market in education that would cost us a lot more than we’re paying now…

    I guess it’s the same strategy that gave us our fabulously expensive health care system which doesn’t even cover everyone and is spiraling out of control.

    Or our great outsourcing to blackwater.

  3. just me says:

    The schools are broken because we won’t pay for them.

    I don’t think lack of money is the problem.

    Honestly I think part of the problem is too much money funneled through massive bureaucracies with little ability to target needs to the populations at hand.

    Also there isn’t a damn thing schools can do about parents lack of concern for education. I work in a very poor rural school district, and while the school isn’t quite a drop out factory, it has a pretty high rate of drop out-especially compared to other schools in the state.

    Pay in our district is low, but the real problem is an apathy from parents and students towards education. In a class of 20 kids last year, we had 5 of them miss almost 40 days of school-not because they were deathly ill or sick, but because they just didn’t feel like coming to school and mom and dad let them stay home. There were two students in the class the teacher spent the whole year trying to reach to have them do at the very least a phone conference, they didn’t respond to calls or letters (not even the certified ones).

    That was in one class of 20, but each class has similar stories. It isn’t surprising that by the time they get to high school they don’t give a flip about education-their parents didn’t give a flip when they were young, and instilled that thinking in them.

    Our school has a couple of non traditional programs they set up to address the issue of dropouts and they have helped, but in the end the biggest problem is that attitude about education, and the school can only do so much to combat parents and peers in this regard.

  4. Anon says:

    If it means climbing out of poverty, going to a religious school is not such a terrible thing.

    I’m not philosophically opposed to using government intervention in some way, but I’m skeptical that just throwing money at teachers will solve the problem.

  5. Scott_T says:

    Where’s the schools that they can go to if there was a voucher system? As has been consistently shown, the vast majority available are religious schools.

    I’m sorry to say, that is not the case.

    Here it is, home-schooling.

    K-12 works in the following states:
    Penn, Arizone, Arkansas, California, Wash DC, Illinois, George, Idaho, Nevada, Ohio, Texas, Florida, Wyoming.

    Just because you say “Vouchers” doesn’t mean it has to go to a brick-and-mortar school. If the student is capable to do home-schooling, or the parents are interested enough to encourage it and follow through with it, it can happen.

    There is no reason why a voucher shouldn’t be able to pay for one of these Schools, as they are Free Public schools (not private). This actually matters to Education Law, as all children are entitled to a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). If they are getting an Appropriate Education via home-schooling, the states are fine with that (or how else did these schools get accredited?)

    And oh my god, their is NO RELIGION involved! It’s all public schooling.

    (Proud parent of 3 California Virtual Academy students now).

  6. Triumph says:

    Presumably, people will figure this out in short order, no?

    Of course they won’t figure it out! They’re stupid–and the reason they are stupid is because they have crappy schools!

  7. Mike says:

    How can anyone say that “lack of funds” is the reason that kids fail out – more and more money is spent per student each year and things don’t improve – bottom line: if parents don’t care, the kids will not care. Doubling teachers’ salaries will not change anything. Increasing the teacher to student ration would help, but the problem is that most of the additional funding for schools goes to administrators rather than the teachers who are in the trenches with the students.

    I went to public school in the south and we had one of the highest average SAT scores in the country – the reason – parents who cared (most of them were professors and professionals) – it wasn’t the nicest school nor did we have the best cpu’s – in fact, i did not ever even use a cpu and this was in the 1991-1995 time-frame – if you can find a way to solve for parents who don’t care then you are a genius.

  8. just me says:

    Increasing the teacher to student ration would help, but the problem is that most of the additional funding for schools goes to administrators rather than the teachers who are in the trenches with the students.

    Our small district with 4 schools in it has 9 non secretarial people in the administration at the main office (ie I am not counting principals or assistant principals). None of them makes less than 60,000 dollars a year. Eliminating some of those positions or combining them would actually put at least a couple of new teachers in the classroom.

    So I think the complaint of top heavy administration is a real one. I know the jobs some of those people do-and readily admit that many of them aren’t worth the paycheck the recieve-the problem in our district at least isn’t the teachers or even how much they are paid (it isn’t going to make them wealthy but compared to other non education government service jobs in our area, they do well enough)-but at the administrative level which seems to be the perfect example of the Peter Principle at work.

  9. William d'Inger says:

    I spent a couple of semesters as a volunteer in a university-run program to reduce the dropout rate. The program had the best of everything. It had copious funding, first-rate facilities and top-notch educators. We spent half the time in classroom instruction and half in individual tutoring. Sometimes we even provided door-to-door transportation to and from the students’ homes.

    The project failed. Statistically, our students did no better (or worse) than the general population.

    What went wrong? Basically, the students refused to learn. It’s as simple as that. They considered education to be an annoyance rather than an opportunity. Attending class netted them neither sex nor money, so they saw no point to it. They had no interest in hypothetical benefits at some vague future date. Their only focus was the immediate gratification of their immediate desires.

    People who believe the answer lies in money, facilities or teachers are delusional. The problem is cultural. Until it becomes cool to be in school, nothing is going to change. And that kind of change can’t be imposed by outsiders. It will have to come from within the disadvantaged community.

  10. Fersboo says:

    I pretty much agree with William d’Inger that the problem is cultural. I’d like to add though that if the youths got 3 servings of leather a day, school would become pretty damn hip.

  11. mannning says:

    Pouring money at education beyond what we do now will fail to produce more good students.

    Pouring money at teachers will not either.

    Pouring money at building new schools to replace old ones will not.

    Lavishing attention on highly reluctant students will not.

    Trying to coerce disfunctional parents that do not care will not.

    Pouring welfare money at those parents will not.

    Taking the children from their parents will not, despite the secular humanist idea that children should be raised by the government (from earlier versions of the Humanist Manifesto).

    This leads to the most frustrating idea that the poor will always be with us: poor in mind, body, and soul.

    What IS the right solution?

  12. Triumph says:

    What IS the right solution?

    Luckily we have a great socialist program that offers excellent training, experience and discipline and will admit nearly anyone: the miltary.

  13. Hal says:

    My word. Yes, let’s replace secular education with state funded religious education through the shenagins of vouchers. Oh, that’s right. I forgot that most of you don’t think the separation between church and state isn’t really in our constitution.

    And this funding nonsense in the comments above is really rich. First, I have consistently found that people who complain about bureaucracies have no answer as to what the correct size or configuration actually is besides “it’s too big”.

    Sure, you have a system which is packed with people who have to put up with your kids all day for less than the median pay in your region (look it up, buckos before ye speak) and you’re going to get a really ugly system that is far, far worse than anything anyone could have created on their own.

    But hey! The private schools spend *more* per pupil than public schools do. So how do you geniuses figure the current system is spending too much? I mean, what? The magic of the market is going to kick in and suddenly everyone will be spending less than the paultry sum we’re currently spending?

    You people are loons.

    Of course, that’s the real problem. Uneducated people unable to deal with math from a poor education system result in a voting population unable to comprehend or deal with the complexities of the society they live in. The result is a spiral down to the bottom.

    Oh, and the blaming of the students above is just priceless! Yea! Those darn kids just won’t learn no matter how much money we throw at them.

    Loons, indeed.

  14. jayburd says:

    You people are loons.
    Loons, indeed.

    Can anybody tell me what education system puts out a product that uses the above statements to further any argument?

  15. just me says:

    And this funding nonsense in the comments above is really rich.

    What do you think the funding will do that it isn’t already? What do you expect the funding to add that will keep kids in school?

  16. M. Murcek says:

    If one out of every 10 packages of processed food in the grocery store made you sick, there’d be lawsuits and companies being forced out of business left and right. That’s because the legal system provides accountability. Government run schools are 100% exempt from this pressure to provide a good product. Surprise, surprise at the result…

  17. Hal says:

    What do you think the funding will do that it isn’t already?

    It’s like you guys don’t even understand capitalism. Most obviously, you’ll get much better teachers and a more professional administration. I mean, what? it’s a good idea to use money to attract talent in the private sector, but not in the public? I dare say that if we paid CEOs below the median wage that we wouldn’t get very good CEOs.

    Seriously, dudes, you guys seem to be completely ignorant of the very principles you think are going to work in a “voucher” system.

    Government run schools are 100% exempt from this pressure to provide a good product.

    Really? Ever been to a PTA meeting? Ever even figured out who was on your local school board? Ever been to a city meeting regarding your schools? Ever even given a flying f*ck about them?

    Didn’t think so. Schools are subjected to tremendous local pressure. The problem is, you can’t turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse.

    And if you think that private schools are subject to more pressure, you’re really a loon. Schooling isn’t like toilet paper. You don’t just yank your kids out of school on a whim. Further, it’s really hard for a parent to determine whether it’s their kid that’s doing poorly or the school.

    Seriously, guys, you think the magic of simply making things “private” is the pixie dust of doom. You have no mechanism, no idea how it will work other than some magic emergent behavior that will suddenly appear when things are taken out the hands of the evil, evil government.

    Geebus. What a bunch of loons. You have no idea what you’re arguing for or against. It’s like it’s a spinal activity where even the medulla oblongata hasn’t even gotten involved because it’s sheer mechanical reflex action.

  18. just me says:

    Really? Ever been to a PTA meeting? Ever even figured out who was on your local school board? Ever been to a city meeting regarding your schools? Ever even given a flying f*ck about them?

    Yes, Yes (I know several of them personally), Yes (even know who is on my City council), Yes.

    I also work in our local district. I know the system from the inside and out.

    I know what it is like to work in a poor rural district with a lot of students whose parents are far more concerned about where their next hit is going to come from than whether or not their child makes it to the bus stop in time to get to school (and if the kid misses, oh well, they get a personal day).

    There is no amount of money that is going to fix these parents.
    The problem with education isn’t how much money teachers make.
    It isn’t even how many teachers they have.
    The problem is that there is a certain amount of apathy about education among many of our populations-when parents and peers send you the message daily that school sucks and doesn’t really matter, there isn’t too much that a teacher-even the most dedicated can do to change that.

    We need to wake up and realize that how we do education isn’t working, and throwing more money at something that is broken isn’t going to make it better.

  19. Hal says:

    “Just me”: well great. Everything you’re saying is about the failure of the parents, and the failure of the children. I fail to see how on earth using vouchers will do anything regarding that problem what so ever – assuming you’re accurate on your diagnosis. And all I have to go on with that is your experience – anonymously and unverifiable even if it wasn’t anonymous.

    One thing that I would agree with you is that we have a serious issue of uneducated people who have children and consequently don’t value education. It’s a downward spiral that is *only* solved by more and better education.

    It’s amazing that you have such an incredibly negative viewpoint on the people involved in the failing system – the teachers, the kids, the parents – everyone. I mean, I thought the “left” was the party of pessimists. I’m sure there’s a lot of crap in the world, but I fail to see how attracting more and better teachers + staff will fail to do anything but *help* the problem.

    It’s as if you’re saying “we’re all going to die and there’s nothing we can do so we have to stick our head in the sand and hope for a quick end”.

    The reason why our education is in the sorry ass state it’s in is a complicated issue and there isn’t just one answer. But I do know – from Capitalism 101 – that money is a *huge* part of hte answer. Certainly you don’t “throw” it at the problem – that’s idiotic. But you don’t fix a broken system by depriving it of money, either.

    Heck, look at the mess the charter school system is in CA. Companies and people under indictment for fraud and funneling money.

    Hmmm. Sounds an awful lot like the outsourcing of the millitary to contractors and mercs, don’t it?

    People who want vouchers essentially want to just throw a bunch of money out there and pray to the capitalist gods that something will emerge. That is throwing money at the problem. And since every private school that’s better than a public school actually costs *more* per pupil than a public school, then it’s going to mean throwing *more* money at the problem.

    I can’t believe people think we’re going to get a superior system with superior people producing superior results by spending less than we are now.

    I mean, that’s just simply illogical.

  20. mannning says:

    I have talked with many of our teachers and administrators about what would improve education in our schools, and why test results are poor. I have asked them what their pay was, their workload, and their curriculum. I have asked them what restrictions they have on how they teach. At this point they became cagey and reluctant to talk, until I said that I would not use their names. Virtually every teachers said that they had two complaints:

    1. They were forced to teach to the tests and not the subjects, or they would suffer in appraisals and salary.
    2. They were forced to use texts that were abominable but approved by the board and the education authorities. Dumbed down texts are being fostered on the system by political correctness drones.

    Their main complaint from a salary perspective was that they were forced to contribute to the union a substantial sum each year, with no opting out.
    Sure, they said, we all would like to have more pay and benefits, who wouldn’t? But they didn’t go into teaching for the pay, but for the rewards in seeing youngsters’ minds take off.

    They complained a lot about discipline in the classroom, and told me stories about abuses and threats of violence from students, especially at the high school level. Their administrators were not strong on discipline, by and large. There were students that the teachers could not “reach” that became dropouts.

    The facilities were more than adequate, and supplies were good, they said. The local PTA stepped in and provided the extras the teachers wanted.

    These teachers were from one of the better urban systems in the state, and their students did better than average on tests, but every teacher voiced the opinion that they could have been far more effective if allowed to teach in a tried and true manner, teaching subjects and how to think about them, and not by using wacky theoretical approaches and redacted texts.

    Money is not the problem, I say again. It is bureaucracy that expands to absorb the new funds the legislators throw at the problem, without trickle down to the systems, and teachers. It is school boards that insist on PC, or they fear the ACLU will sue them. It is parents that are not fit, and their offspring that are not civilized.

    It is dishonesty in several situations, where money simply isn’t spent in the right way, or it disappears. It is PC again by unions and their political aspirations to keep the flow of tax dollars going their way.

    It is also the unions that force systems to keep poor teachers and to pay all teachers equally, and will not allow merit pay for the better teachers, even if the money is there to do so.

    It is experiments conducted by ambitious administrators that want a credit line to advance their careers, not caring how this affects the students in their future. This I witnessed first hand with my children, my wife’s experience and my daughters’ as well.

    Be thankful if your school system is as good as this one is.

  21. mannning says:

    Vouchers are not an all-purpose solution. At best, they would be a band aid in some cases. One simple reason is that the good schools are oversubscribed to begin with, so vouchers mean little.

    The root of the problem, in my opinion, is indeed the surrounding culture, not the school itself. This is a generational problem that has no effective solution in the short term, especially not throwing money at it.

  22. just me says:

    Hal only time for one quick comment, but I made it clear that for the most part the teachers are not the problem.

    Even in our very poor district we have quite a few dedicated and capable teachers. There are very few teachers I don’t like.

    Administration is a different matter entirely. Most of the people at the administrative level here aren’t worth half the salaries they are paid.

  23. Hal says:

    Most of the people at the administrative level here aren’t worth half the salaries they are paid.

    I think this is precisely the situation you see in jobs that don’t pay well.

    To mannning:

    Money is not the problem, I say again.

    You really are a loon with that rant. Simple question: why is it that all the private schools that are objectively better than public schools spend *more* per pupil – lot’s more – than public schools? You have to ask yourself why that is. It’s because money is a big part of the problem. The correlation between money spent per student and any measure of success you’re willing to commit to (given our past discussions, I can’t imagine any you’d pin yourself down to, but what they hey) is fantastic.

    Sure, you can throw money away. Heck, we’re currently on track to throw 2 trillion down the Iraq black hole with the sole result of making more terrorists and killing and injuring more soldiers in the biggest strategic blunder in the history of the world.

    But hey! It’s killing people! It’s macho!

    We have plenty to spend on more bombs, deaths and destruction.

    No money to spend on our children’s future. Rather, it seems the consensus is that it’s the kid’s and parent’s d*mn fault for being so stupid in the first place.


  24. mannning says:

    The problem, dear Hal, dear Hal, is not the amount of money spent in private schools. There are many reasons that private schools are more successful, starting with parents that want their children to have the best education possible, and insisting that the kids take to it.

    The whole infrastructure is designed around quality in order to attract the right students from the families that can afford the best and desire that quality.

    Lacking the parent’s motivation, the student’s discipline at home and in the private school system(which is beyond the reach of much of the Federal and union bureaucracy), you do not get improved learning even with the best teachers and administrators available and in the most lavish buildings man can achieve.

    The focus should be on the 8 to 10 thousand dollars a year per student spent on public education with tax dollars, and not let us be diverted by spurrious comparisons with the far fewer private systems. I think dear Hal is expressing envy of the private schools and their products–as if he didn’t get to go Groton or Exeter. but Groton and Exeter are not the problem: Thomas Jefferson High School a mile from here is the problem.

    Throw another 2 thousand a year per student at the system, and what you will get are some new education experts on staff, some new studies by expensive consultants, a few town meetings designed to show progress, and an empty pocket after all that. Plus, you will get some rather unhappy taxpayers that do not believe that progress is being made by these so-called experts, and who will not stand for yet another education tax rise. There is a limit to just how much you can tax the public for education without showing real progress. That limit must be in the range of 10-15% more than they are paying now,I suggest, and not all at once in a year either.
    So you have a tax limit to deal with, and a solid gage of progress to meet in the public schools.

    Therefore, I suggest that showing solid progress in education of students in the public schools today takes absolute precedence over trying to match private endowments and tuitions with public money. You cannot solve the culture problem with tax money.

  25. Hal says:

    Yep, you’re still the same loon.

    This is something I love about your type of conservative, mannning. It’s that almost Calvinist believe that everything is the person’s fault and nothing environment is to blame for anything.

    WRT limits, I can only remind you that the current war on Islamo-whatever is an open ended check looking like the water output of Hoover dam on release day.

    You seem to have no problems with that, no metrics to measure success and zero issues with the galactic scale of incompetence shown in the planning, execution and follow through.

    Again, you have plenty of money to waste on killing and committing strategic blunders of historic proportions, but can’t even comprehend spending a miniscule amount of that for our children’s future.

    What a very depressing and quite twisted – not to mention horrifically pessimistic – philosophy and outlook you have.

    Yep, it’s going to be a great 2008.

  26. mannning says:

    Typical noodnick response. Lots of issue-waving irrelevant to the subject at hand, lots of attacks on the debater (probably because he has no real response), and just plain old obfuscation, rather than any thoughtful response.

    Just for laughs, why don’t you look up how much money the current administration has thrown at education in the last 7 years–and with not much to show for it! You might be surprised!

    You are not worth debating.

  27. Hal says:

    Hmmm, then simply stop 😉 Last time we “debated” about AIT, you couldn’t even support your assertions as argued and simply moved the goal posts. That’s the kind of debate I’m beginning to expect from you.

    As one can plainly find out by using googling skills as poor as yours are, the federal government spends hardly anything – 92.7% of all funding for public schools comes from non-federal sources. We spend about $27 billion. Quick, mannning, how many times does 27 billion go into 2 trillion?

    And what have we got for this investment? Seriously? You’d think that we have a third world nation with children drooling on the side walk according to your world view.

    Maybe you should invest in a few more google searches to find out how the federal money is actually spent (here’s a hint: it largely doesn’t go to schools qua schools).

    And another thing, it probably suprises you to learn that 62 cents of every education dollar goes to teachers in the form of salaries, benefits, supplies (e.g., textbooks), and purchased services. Quick! That leaves how much for the other “wasteful” expenditures like buildings, property upkeep, transportation, meals, etc.

    I mean, really mannning. You clearly don’t know how much your poor pocket book is doling out – and if you live in a red state, then you’re actually getting more of my blue state federal money in than you’re doling out.

    Geebus. Now, move the goalposts and ignore any of the points I addressed.

  28. mannning says:

    A few facts:

    we spend over 473 Billion dollars a year on primary and secondary schools.
    The average teacher is paid about $47,000 a year.
    The average per student is over $8,300. Classroom sizes average 15 to 16 students.
    The Federal Gov averages paying about 8.8% of the budgets (way over $41 Billion), while state Gov averages about 48.6%, and local Gov averages about 42.7%.

    There are over 48 million students in these levels.

    The correlation between expenditure per student and success rate in terms of percent graduating is all over the place, with Utah spending about $4,900 per student, yet rates at Number 5 in the nation for percent graduating. NJ is Number 1, and pays about $13,000 per student. There are only 19 states with a reported graduation rate above 75%.

    Obviously, factors other than cost per year per student are in operation.

    Your figures are way off, friend: you say 27 Billion and the NEA says 41.4 Billion. Trying to cook the books again?

    There is no valid reason for the Federal Gov to put more money into education, in my opinion. It is a local and state issue, and the Feds should actually bow out completely. Zero out the 8.8% in favor of state and local revenues over several years. We need to get the Fed nose out from under the tent. There is no constitutional reason for the Feds to be involved at all. But to increase the Fed role suits liberals very well. One more big growth in government, and Federal intrusion far into state and local life that we will have to combat.

    Next, we will have the Feds mandating deep cultural changes to go along with their biased curricula for schools accepting Fed money, if the liberals have their way. Just as the ACLU is doing. We can eliminate that bias by refusing Federal money, as private schools do.

    Nice solution to the problem you have: dictatorship of the mind. 1984 coming true.

    The root problem is virtually impervious to added money: the surrounding culture dominates.
    I guess you want the Federal Government to legislate the left’s version of culture into law.


  29. Hal says:

    My god, mannning, not even a single frickin’ link! Provide some backing for your sources or I’ll just keep rolling on the floor laughing my ass off. Can’t argue against you as your sole source.

    Also, you’d be better off talking median, rather than average (assuming you know the difference), as that’s the relevant measure in pay, spending per pupil, class size, etc. Averages in this domain are a meaningless measurement.

    Come up with references for your assertions ( a claim I keep making and you keep refusing, I might add, in our arguments) or I’m just going to assume you’re pulling them out of your ass.

    And I gots to love the invocation of states rights and the demand that a constitutional issue be found! Bravo. Brings back memories of school segregation and southern governors blocking black children with dogs and rifles from attending schools – must be your fantasy. It’s a perfect lead in to your typical Birchian rant at the end where it’s all an ACLU conspiracy resulting in a dictatorship of the mind…

    I mean, seriously. You seem to consistently degenerate into conspiracy theories to explain everything. Pray tell, how do the black helicopters fit into all this?

  30. mannning says:

    As expected–another rant from a moonbat. You are hyped on links! Screw your link fetish, and you have my permission to ROTFLYAO. I don’t dance to your tune, so roger off.

    Dream up another false post.

  31. Hal says:

    Well, you’re batting 1,000 without ever providing a single link that backs up anything you’ve ever asserted.

    The whole hyperlink thing is vastly overrated and providing sources is so liberal anyway.

  32. Grewgills says:

    Manning’s numbers from the first paragraph appear to come from the NEA. I don’t know why he would refuse to link or at least cite the source as it would have helped his argument to do so.
    Some information for the debate can be found from the NEA and Morgan Quitno.

    Obviously, factors other than cost per year per student are in operation.

    That no single factor explains all or even most of the variation does not mean that said factor does not explain some of that variation. There are many factors involved in education outcomes and it can be difficult to separate out the effects of each. Teacher compensation when coupled with student:teacher ratio appear to explain some of the differences in educational outcomes across and within states. Correct teacher compensation for cost of living, add instructional expenditure per student (also corrected) and the fit will likely be much closer.

    Level of parental education and wealth, community homogeneity, crime rate, and other societal factors complicate but do not completely obscure this picture.

    Like Hal though I am consistently amused at the people who defend exorbitant salaries of business executives and others as necessary to attract the best and brightest argue the opposite when it comes to teacher salaries. This same group argues the necessity of warrantless wiretaps and other invasive Patriot Act provisions whle arguing that more money for the DOE is Orwellian.

  33. Hal says:

    Never really disputed the numbers as my own I quoted came from a 2000 report. That after the NCLB, in 2008, we (the federal we) are spending 47 billion comes as no big surprise. The problem with using an average salary of 47K is that median is the important figure and that comparison to the median salary in the region where the teacher works – i.e. 47K here in silicon valley is literally a wage that won’t even begin to cut it due to cost of living. While in a rural area where COL is far different, that may be a very high wage.

    I just want him for once to provide links to sources – it’s ridiculous not to.

    But yea, their priorities are clear. We can rip the constitution to shreds with warantless wire taps, holding people without charges or access to counsel, torture, etc. We can spend literally trillions fighting a war of choice against a 7th rate country that had nothing to do with 9/11, argue for another war of choice against a country who helped us against the very group that perpetrated 9/11, but when it comes to doing something about education, man o man! That’s crossing the line…

    Bizarre priorities.