Monday, January 09, 2006

Two Articles On The "65% Rule"

The New York Times gets in the game, Here's an Idea: Put 65% of the Money Into Classrooms. The "65% Ruse" - as I like to call it - is the latest in naming crazes by the Republican Party like, Supply-side/Trickle-down economics, and compassionate conservative. Don't buy the hype. Here's a few excerpts:
"This is an absolutely phony sound bite," said Anne L. Bryant, executive director of the National School Boards Association. "Schools have such a variety of needs, and they have very, very different spending habits. And there is no evidence that spending 65 percent of your budget on classroom spending will produce higher academic achievement."

Part of the problem lies in definitions, the critics say. Athletics counts as a classroom activity, including coaches' salaries, but librarians, guidance counselors, food service workers and school bus drivers do not, under guidelines created by the National Center for Education Statistics, a branch of the federal Department of Education.

"Would you not want to have a guidance counselor for your high school senior?" Dr. Bryant said.

[...]

Ms. (Linda) Bridges (president of the Texas Federation of Teachers) said advocates of the 65 percent standard use definitions "that we think limit instruction, rather than to define everything that goes into instruction."

"It sounds enticing, but once you start peeling away the layers and start talking about what's in and what's out, in terms of the definition, and you start looking at the long-term implications, it raises a number of questions," she said.

[...]

James W. Guthrie, a professor of public policy and education at Vanderbilt University, dismissed the proposal as "hocus-pocus."

"This is well intended, but misguided," said Dr. Guthrie, who is president of the American Education Finance Association. "Actually, it would be harmful, because it would add to the overlay of regulatory apparatus with which districts have to comply. Why do we want to restrict what school people spend?"

[...]

The Austin American-Statesman reported in August that a memo from First Class Education listed a series of political benefits that would result from getting the 65 percent solution on the ballot. Among them, the newspaper reported, was that it would create divisions between teachers and administrators within education unions and that it would give Republicans greater credibility on public education issues, thus making it more likely that voters would support Republicans who are pushing for school vouchers and charter schools.
We already know all of this from my previous post, Where did the 65% Rule come from. It's another scam with a catchy slogan, designed to ruin public schools in order for them to be privatized. I thought this quote really shows what the plan is:
Proponents of the standard contend, however, that it would provide a number of benefits. They say it would force school districts to become more businesslike in how they spend on things like consultants, food service, busing and maintenance. They say it would free up money to increase teachers' salaries without requiring tax increases.
Just substitute "Enronlike" for businesslike and think about what has happened on a national scale to FEMA, and recently with the Mining Safety and Health Administration (MHSA). It's crony-capitalism and defunding government so it can't function in order to drown it in the bathtub, and no-bid contracts to your friends.

The Chronicle had a commentary on this last week as well, Gov. Perry's 65 percent delusion, which reinforced this aspect of the "65% Ruse":
STATE education officials are busy figuring out the details of implementing Gov. Rick Perry's executive order that 65 percent of public school expenditures go to classroom instruction.

As of now, the salaries of football coaches are in.

The salaries of school librarians are out.
This is good too:
It's called, in some quarters, "the 65 percent solution." Try 65 percent delusion.
As with anything the devil's in the details and this article goes to great lengths to discuss why librarians are needed in our public schools. Another point that needs to be made here is that everybody running for office in Texas this year needs to be asked about the "65% Ruse" to get them on record as to where they stand on this. And last, but by no means least, this is all about breaking the teacher's union and school vouchers.

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