I think the word “bureaucrat” means wasteful and inefficient in Greek or something. And, of course, “California bureaucrat” means wasteful and inefficient while on medical marijuana. Lots and lots of it.
Did that seem harsh? Well take a look at the facts and see if you can come up with a better explanation. A gaggle of California bureau-stoners are in charge of educating hundreds of thousands of kids. Fifty percent of them drop out, though. But that’s okay, considering those who remain are testing out slightly lower than the class guinea pig. Oh, and did I forget to mention that the district is flat busted broke, running a deficit well over half a billion dollars?
So how do you solve such deep-rooted and complex problems? Well, first you look in the mirror. If you’re not a bald middle-aged man with a pony-tail, a bong and a bag of Doritos; and if you don’t have Summerhill and B.F. Skinner in your bookshelf; you don’t have to worry about it anyway. You clearly have nothing to do with California schools.
However, if you do have the bong, Doritos, ponytail, Skinner, etc., and California taxpayers have hired you to deal with low achievement scores and huge budget deficits, this is what you do: You purchase 587 billion million dollars worth of fine art, marble sculptures, talking benches, restaurant style pizza ovens, state of the art swimming pools, and a dance studio with cushioned maple floors. And you put it all in a structure so stinking luxurious, people have taken to calling it the Taj Mahal.
See what I mean? These guys are either on drugs or they are just plain barking mad.
It reflects a peculiar inversion of priorities — where buildings are lavishly funded, while the teachers’ union does its best to undermine badly needed reforms. Who’s looking out for the students? This is public policy at its worst, squandering precious money that will further weaken Los Angeles’ failing public school system.
Maybe Golden State bureauweenies know something we don’t — such as who will pick up the tab for this lunacy. We now live in a country where people who live within their means are forced to subsidize the lifestyles of those who don’t. Inevitably, responsible states like Texas will have to pay California’s bills. This will happen when a massive bailout is imposed to keep the frivolous spending going, while greedy educrats bleat about teachers losing their jobs.
I think it’s interesting that the two grammar schools and the junior high that I attended in the Bay Area in the sixties and seventies are gone. And they weren’t old turn-of-the-century fire-traps either. They were built in the fifties, about the same time as our house – which, incidentally, is still there. In fact my whole neighborhood is still there, even the houses that were old even back then. Why were those schools torn down? What are those California spendaholics drinking or smoking to make them keep flushing more and more money down the toilet?
Andrew Coulson with the CATO Institute provides graphic evidence that skyrocketing education spending has had no effect on student performance:
[T]otal expenditures per pupil are nearly two-and-a-half times higher today than in 1970, after adjusting for inflation, while student achievement toward the end of high school has been flat or has even declined slightly (in science).
You may be wondering: ‘What did we get for that huge increase in spending?” The answer is: a lot more public school employees. The next chart adds an extra trend line to the one above: the number of public school employees divided by the number of students enrolled. This ratio of staff to students has gone up by 70 percent since 1970, swelling the ranks of the public school employee unions to about 4.5 million people.
Kids learn better in charter schools, home schools, at the kitchen table, and in one-room school houses. Kids also learn better when their parents have more choices for their education. Strange, isn’t it, that these are the things that the teachers’ unions vehemently oppose?
Do they even care about the kids?
UPDATE: Correction: 587 million (not billion).