The President said today we we can’t cut the budget because South Korean children are outpacing our kids in math and science. The problem with that is South Koreans spend $5,437 per primary-school pupil – we spend  $10,229 per student. I don’t think money is the problem, or the solution.


5 Responses to Observations

  1. Nate says:

    I put the blame, at least partially, on the hiring practices for teachers. not so much on the hiring I guess, more so on continued employment. You can be an awful teacher and unless you do something criminal (and sometimes even than) you can’t be fired after you pass your short probationary period.

    There are no incentives to become a good teacher or to continue to be one. You only have to do just enough to get by.

    Americas teachers are also among the highest paid teachers in the world, at least according to all the data I could find. While that’s not a bad thing in and of itself, it does tick me off that we are paying new Cadillac prices for used Honda’s. Clearly not a good use of our education dollars.

    In case you didn’t know, we spend more on education than on defense. Don’t let liberals try and lie at you, sure the feds spend about 1/7th of what they spend on defense on education, but education is the states domain and when you add all that state spending in, its much higher than defense spending, to the tune of 750$ per person (give or take, I’m eyeballing it)MORE on education than on defense.

  2. jackhudson says:

    I think our education system definitely plays a part in it – but I think culture is huge too.

    We are perhaps the most heterogeneous society on the planet – which means one to one comparisons on things like education, healthcare, and even happiness have less validity, particularly when you try to tie that to expenditures by the Federal government.

    Comparing the US, a country of 300 million people living in 50 very different states to South Korea, a country of 50 million with a much more homogenous culture really isn’t that useful when considering education spending. Of course the President wasn’t attempting to lay out the facts, he was merely demagoguing on an issue he has done next to nothing about in his 2+ years in office.

  3. Nate says:

    Still, I think much of the problem is what teachers unions have ‘won’ for their members. Near 100% job security short of getting caught water boarding a student, even than a transfer is more likely than a firing.

    The point of our education system has become paying teachers, not educating students.

    Also how much time do schools waste these days on “cultural awareness days” and other such nonsense, and there is a lot of it, that don’t do anything but take time out of the subjects we really need taught, math, science, history, english, etc.

    We need less feel good politically correct nonsense, more former teachers that are out of a job because they can’t teach and more of those education dollars directed towards education and fewer of them directed towards 20 year, no contribution, retirement plans for teachers.

  4. DanJames says:

    I wonder if South Korea removes failed students from the public school system. A school administrator friend of mine pointed out at one point that many countries don’t keep kids in the school system for as long as we do. This might also explain why private schools do so much better as well. Start kicking out some of the little jerks that we have in public schools, or at least hold them accountable for their grades, and I’ll bet we will see grades start to rise.

  5. Nate says:

    You can cut all the eyes off a potato and have a better french fry, but you’re still going to have to carry that trash out.

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