We all deserve quality education and guidance, and we all deserve it equally. This is the land of equal opportunity, correct?
Unfortunately, and unfairly, the resources available for providing education and guidance to students vary considerably.
There is great spending-per-student variation within states, and between states, often due to variations in where wealth is concentrated.
Variations in concentration of wealth in different areas will alway exist, but this doesn’t mean that children in poorer areas must receive poorer educations.
If we truly believe that all American children are equally deserving of education, as one would expect in a land of equal opportunity, that means we should see to it that all American schools have comparable resources per student: or more specifically, the resources needed to provide comparable quality education and guidance to every student.
Utah, Idaho, Arizona, and Oklahoma spend approximately 7K per student, whereas at the other end of the spectrum, New York spends over 20K per student.
There are cost of living considerations that allow for lower or higher salaries in different regions, but after accounting for such things, our goal should be comparable educational quality in every public school.
How do we gauge the quality of education that is being provided to each student? Standardized tests don’t tell the whole story, we need more sophisticated metrics, developed by experts in the field.
When we identify an underperforming school, however, the response should be to help improve the school - this only stands to reason. The approach of punishing underperforming schools, as under No Child Left Behind, never made sense.
That’s because it wasn’t really a policy designed to help schools, but a only a policy to justify spending less on schools.
So to me, the way forward from a nationwide perspective is to use our collective resources (obtained progressive taxation) so that we can:
- Develop sophisticated metrics for assessing the quality of education at any and all public schools
- Use these metrics to identify the schools in the country that are most in need of improvement
- Provide help as needed, funding and guidance, to improve these schools’ performance
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