Here’s a simple recipe for increasing the quality of our public schools.
First, decrease the number of teachers and increase the number of students. Our public schools employ about 250,000 fewer people than before the recession, according to figures from the Labor Department. Enrollment in public schools, meanwhile, has increased by more than 800,000 students. At prerecession staffing ratios, public school employment would have grown by about 132,000 jobs in the past four years, in addition to replacing those that were lost, according to Heidi Shierholz, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute in Washington.
Second, reduce overall spending upon education by the states. Due to the recession and very bad planning by many state governments, education funding has been substantially slashed over the last several years. In addition, monies that would have gone to our public schools have been diverted to charter school experiments that not only prove to be no better than our traditional schools but lead to greater segregation to boot.
Third, reduce any attention the arts, music, etc. receive in the curriculum and focus on English, math, and science, even to the exclusion of most of the rest of the curriculum. None of that stuff will help you find a job, anyway.
Finally, adopt a culture of high stakes testing and spend a large portion of class time on test preparation, rather than real learning. Sure, there is no linkage between such test scores and happiness, success, or the economy as a whole, but it is another way to divert millions of dollars away from things we know work to these things we haven’t got a clue as to whether they will work and, well, certain business partners who will enjoy the profits they’ll make.
All we have to do is wait and see what we get.
Does this sound like a recipe you’d want to try?
Note: This recipe originally appeared on the Cooking the Books Channel.