School Finance 101

Some who read this blog might assume that I am totally opposed, in any/all circumstances to using data in schools to guide decision-making. Despite my frequent public cynicism I assure you that I believe that much of the statistical information we collect on and in schools and school systems can provide useful signals regarding what’s working and what’s not, and may provide more ambiguous signals warranting further exploration – through both qualitative information gathering (observation, etc.) and additional quantitative information gathering.

My personal gripe is that thus far – especially in public policy – we’ve gone about it all wrong.  Pundits and politicians seem to have this intense desire to impose certainty where there is little or none and impose rigid frameworks with precise goals which are destined to fail (or make someone other than the politician look as if they’ve failed).

Pundits and politicians also feel the intense desire…

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School Finance 101

Sometime last week or so, Sockpuppets for Ed Reform marched on City Hall in NY demanding that the city and teachers union come to a deal on a teacher evaluation system compliant with the state’s new regulations for such systems, so that the district could receive an approximately $300 million grant payment associated with the implementation of that system. Well, actually, it was more about trying to enrage the public that the evil teachers union in particular was at fault for holding hostage and potentially losing this supposedly massive sum of funding.

As one can see by the signs the SFER protesters were displaying, the protest was much less clearly articulated than I’ve described above. On would think, from looking at stuff like this: that this protest was actually about obtaining funding for the district – funding that would provide for substantive and sustained improvement to district programs/services.


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Over the weekend I received two gutless, anonymous letters.

Needless to say, they were defamatory, nearly 100% false and contained accusations and statements about CSD employees that were so ornate, pompous and false, one must contextualize such a callous and classless attempt to skewer and shape district policy for what it is: a blatant act of cowards.

That said, I took their advice and contacted Labor Relations (their term) to inform them that we have an anonymous agent harassing CSD employees and board members with multiple libelous missives.

After taking their advice about my liabilities due to inaction, I offer them the same advice: untruthful, vicious lies spread via US Mail are actions you may want to talk to your attorneys about.

As for the letters now, they’re in the circular file, as that is where they came from most likely anyway.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Thomas Ratliff was elected to the Texas State Board of Education in 2010. A Republican, he has emerged as one of the most eloquent and powerful voices for public education in the state. In this article, explains; Testing in Texas is out of control.

But wait: here is Sandy Kress, architect of the reviled NCLB, insisting that every child in Texas has the right to be tested with super frequency. Testing is the very foundation, it seems, of the state’s economy. without it, where would Texas be? Kress is now a lobbyist for Pearson, which won a five-year contract for almost $500 million from the state of Texas. The legislature found the testing money at the same time they cut the public schools’ budget by $5.4 Billion. That’s B for Billions.

Sara Stevenson, a librarian at O. Henry Middle School in Austin, sent the following letter to the editor…

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