Giving our public schools their due

  • Article by: DANE SMITH
  • Updated: December 9, 2012 - 8:13 AM

Spending a smaller part of state income, faced with more challenging students, they're still making unsung progress.

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pumiceDec. 8, 12 7:50 PM

From the article: "The megatrends show that over the last 10 to 20 years, with (1) a smaller percentage of our dollars and (2) a much poorer and costlier student body, public schools in Minnesota have (3) held their own and even slightly improved at least some test scores. A case could be made that our schools are not failing at all but performing heroically." Further down the article, Dane Smith provides this evidence for Megatrend 3: "Minnesota schools have lifted National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) test scores in three of four categories since the late 1990s."

Volunteering, as the author notes, is a real eye-opener: Most children come to school eager to gain literacy and numeracy skills. In addition, many come from homes where parents have the time, energy and financial wherewithal to jumpstart their children's learning with lap-time, floor-time and outside experiences. Children who don't have these resources and support rely on dedicated teachers to help them accomplish the heroic deeds which will prepare them for productive lives.

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callmeronDec. 8, 12 8:22 PM

Inner city schools in America: 50% dropout rates and the lowest academic achievement in the industrialized world. Did you know that 47% of the adults in the city of Detroit are functionally illiterate?

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one4thepeepsDec. 8, 1210:54 PM

What a fantastic article. It's too easy for the media to report on troubled schools. Conflict is what sells, but the actual data tells a different story, and it's nice to see that story get told for a change. Dollar for dollar investing in our schools, our teachers, and our children is the best thing we can do.

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DLBabatzDec. 8, 1211:19 PM

"Total school district revenues as a percent of our total state personal income has declined, from a high of about 5 cents of each dollar in 1995 to a projected 4 cents in 2014, reflecting a general trend toward a lower overall "price of government" in Minnesota." With birth rates also down, there is a smaller percentage of the population who are school aged, receiving state paid education, so yes, as a percentage of total income, we can/should be spending less and maintain parity with past spending rates.

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probsolverDec. 9, 12 4:21 AM

Poor performing children are usually are the result of disengaged parents, not necessarily the schools/ teachers. No amount of money given to the schools can make parents engage with their children. What's the answer? I don't rightly know.

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joehardeyDec. 9, 12 8:54 AM

Investing in Minnesota's schools and school children has always paid dividends for all of the people of this state. We need to find a way to provide adequate funding on a stable basis for our schools. Selling pizzas, washing cars and other student driven fund raisers is no way to meet the ever-increasing financial obligations that schools are facing. Schools must have additional funds just to try and catch up with the technology needs they face every day. In most Minnesota communities, schools remain the leader and standard bearer for instruction, technology, entertainment, facilities and many other areas most taxpayers never think of. Our schools remain the one constant, in an increasingly unstable and ever-changing world.

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briechersDec. 9, 12 9:35 AM

We need to keep experimenting with different approaches...we have not cracked the code yet.

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hame0058Dec. 9, 12 9:52 AM

@probsolver: "Poor performing children are usually are the result of disengaged parents, not necessarily the schools/ teachers. No amount of money given to the schools can make parents engage with their children. What's the answer? I don't rightly know." I agree with you, but I'm pretty sure that continuing to trim the education budget is most definitely not the answer. Invest in our children, just like our parents chose to invest in us!

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oldmotorheadDec. 9, 1210:05 AM

I hate so say it,but if the current funding trends continue, most parents who can afford it , will send their kids to private schools and public education schools will be for minorities, special ed, and handicapped. That's basically the Republican philosophy on public education.

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probsolverDec. 9, 1210:32 AM

Invest in our children, just like our parents chose to invest in us! ------ I dont disagree. Is there a specific amount that we should invest and specific line items that the expenditures would be targeted for? Are there also reviews to determine the effectiveness of the expenditures? I support spending on education but there has to be metrics/measurements on the effectiveness of said expenditures.

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