Earlier this week, Steve Rose of the Kansas City Star
wrote an editorial
outlining what he viewed as a negativity towards public education. Rose quoted from an AFP candidate questionnaire with;
|Which of the following do you believe most accurately reflects your view of K-12 spending?
A. School districts operate very efficiently and make good use of taxpayer money.
B. School districts are pretty efficient but there might be a little room for improvement.
C. Aggressive, independent efficiency studies should be immediately implemented to identify best practices and find ways to achieve required outcomes at more efficient costs.
The correct answers are (A) or (B), but (C) is an erroneous, loaded question for conservatives...
Apparently, asking folks to look at the facts and try to be more efficient is little more than thinly veiled hostility.
It’s quite telling that Rose's basis for saying schools operate very
efficiently and spending has only kept up with inflation is a lobbying
group that advocates for more spending rather that actual figures from
the Dept. of Education or the state budget office.
Here are the facts according to official government data for the period 2001 to 2011:
—Inflation was 24.2% (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Midwest Urban Cities)
—FTE enrollment increased 1.8% (KSDE)
—Taxpayer support of public education increased 55.8%; state aid +37.6%, federal +155.4% and local +67%. (KSDE)
—2012 is expected to be a record-setting year for taxpayer support of public education, at $5.672 billion (KSDE)
Here are a few more facts that, like those listed above, are not
generally known to the public and are routinely denied by
—$402 million more in state and local aid was not spent between 2005 and 2011 but was used to increase operating cash reserves (KSDE)
—Instruction spending per-pupil increased 84% between 1999 and 2011 (KSDE) while inflation was up only 32% (BLS)
—Taxpayer support of public education in Kansas increased from $3.1 billion in 1998 to $5.6 billion in 2011 (KSDE) yet student proficiency levels are well below 50% (US Dept. of Ed.)
Telling parents the inconvenient truth is not attacking schools,
teachers or anyone else. It is giving them the facts they need to make
fully informed decisions about what needs to be done to improve