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Beg and borrow because tomorrow is another day

The Philadelphia school district is taking the rather unprecedented step of borrowing $300 million to stay afloat. This is akin to a starving man munching on his toes. And it is on top of $3 billion in outstanding bonds. Philadelphia is paying today’s bills by borrowing against the future. This might work if the school […]

Baumol’s Disease By Design (Part 4)

So the Heritage Foundation just released these fantastically illustrative charts documenting Baumol’s Disease in American K-12 education. The first shows that total employment in public schools increased by ten times more than enrollment growth, with non-teaching staff leading the way with an incredible 138% increase: You can’t hire that many non-teachers without the percentage of public school […]

Perfect for Halloween: Haunted school, zombie principal and children in peril

How appropriate that I went to Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios after watching the movie Won’t Back down. They turned out to be quite similar. HHN, as it is known, features a multitude of haunted houses inhabited by various monsters and demons. Won’t Back Down (WBD?) features a haunted schoolhouse presided over by a […]

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Thanks to leaders like Governor Bobby Jindal, Superintendent John White and state lawmakers, all low-income parents of K-12 students attending a C, D, or F school in Louisiana now have the opportunity to apply for a state-funded scholarship to attend a participating A or B public school or an approved private school.

Ravitch vs Ravitch

In a recent speech in Chicago, Diane Ravitch pointed out that America has a stellar 90 percent graduation rate. She notes the dropout rate is at a historical low. She notes the federal National Assessment of Educational Progress tests, which she calls the only valid measure of academic performance, are at their highest point in […]

Baumol’s victims and the urgent need for reform (part 3)

We could spend some time attempting to explain why this…

Frivolous litigation earns dunce cap

Florida will be the first state to litigate the effectiveness of education reform. State Board of Education member Roberto Martinez calls it “an exercise in futility and madness and a waste of funds.” All of which might disqualify it from other arenas, but certainly not a court of law. Opponents of education reform filed a […]

Grading schools in Lake Wobegon

It seems that support for an A-F school grading system is contingent on the rigor of the grading system. The harder it is to get an A, the more pushback there is from the public school bureaucracy and opponents of education reform. They would prefer we grade schools like we graded kids on my second-grade […]

Baumol Part Deux in 2D-Your Cliffnotes To Eduwonky Enlightenment

So in our last nerdfest episode, we explored the idea that American K-12 has a severe case of Baumol’s disease- the tendency of labor intensive services to become more expensive over time without a corresponding increase in effectiveness. At some point we will explore some of excuses often weakly offered up in an attempt to […]

Would you like biggie fries with that geometry assignment?

Customer service, once the domain of corporate America, is coming to public schools in Florida. They are rolling out the welcome mat and increasing their menu offerings to ensure their customers – primarily parents — are satisfied.