Reckless Mendacities

The University of Hawaii (Manoa campus) bookstore has stocked its shelves with required Fall semester texts. Every semester, I scan these texts for mention of the name "Kozol". Jonathan Kozol describes shabby classrooms in inner city schools, and relates these conditions to the tax base of the school district. As the evidence given here indicates, Kozol indicts innocent parties. Kozol's thesis fails on two counts: (1) those poor, inner-city, minority school districts get more money per pupil than the State average, in most US States, and (2) as indicated by abundant evidence from foreign countries and from independent schools and homeschoolers, it does not take 12 years at $12,000 per pupil-year to teach a normal child to read and compute. Most US schools get too much money.

EDCS 625
Professor: Halagao, Patricia E.
Text: Lies My Teacher Told Me (required)
Author: James W. Loewen

Course description
EDCS 625 Social Studies Curriculum (3) Examination and evaluation of social science content, societal values and research findings as basis for development and revision of social studies materials, texts, curriculum guides, methodology. Pre: ITE 322 or equivalent, social studies teaching experience, or consent.

From the text
Meanwhile, history (sic) text books blithely tell of such federal largesse to education as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, passed under Lyndon Johnson. Not one textbook offers any data on or analysis of inequality within educational institutions. None mentions how school districts in low-income areas labor under financial constraints so shocking that Jonathan Kozol calls them "savage inequalities".

The structure of the US education industry imposes the "shocking" financial constraints under which inner city districts labor. These districts get more than enough money, as indicated by the performance of US Catholic schools, US homeschoolers, and schools in foreign countries. Urban districts in the US must support construction contractors, swarms of out-of-classroom parasites, and an artificially extended span of compulsory attendance

EDEA 620
Professor: Roberts, Stacey
Title: American Public School Finance
Author: William Owings, Leslie Kaplan

Course description
EDEA 620 Education Finance (3) Educational revenues, apportionments, budgetary procedures, costs, business management, economics of education, measures of productivity.

From the text (on vouchers)...
...any program that would take monies out of public education would be of concern to all educators now and in the future. (p. 366)
Here is a naked expression of the authors' preference for State (government, generally) provision of education services. Not ("public education"="State-operated schools"). Vouchers take money from the NEA/AFT/AFSCME cartel's schools and support each participating parent's choice of school. Since, as many scholars have found, the private sector of the education industry yields higher performance at lower cost than State schools, it's the NEA/AFT/AFSCME cartel which takes money from public education.
All states attempt to compensate for the impact of local wealth and education spending (much more will be explained later in the book), but wealthier school districts usually outspend poorer school districts by a wide margin. The poorer school districts tend to be urban poor and (sic) isolated rural districts which have great demands and few available resource. These inequalities tend to have a "savage" impact on the neediest students.(39)
(39)with all due respect to Jonathan Kozol. For an excellent and disturbing read detailing these impacts, see his book Savage Inequalities: Children in America's Schools.
Their Kozol endorsement, on the central topic of their book (school finance) discredits their voice.

EDEF 310
Professor: Tavares, Hannah M.
Text: American Education: A History
Authors: Wayne Urban, Jennings Wagoner

Course description
EDEF 310 Education in American Society (3) Interrelated historical, philosophical, and socio-cultural contexts of education with an emphasis on contemporary problems and applications. Students enrolled in colleges other than the College of Education are asked to confer with the College of Education director of student services before enrolling in 310. A-F only. DS

The text gives a brief but balanced account of the development of the voucher argument, although it ignores the common use of voucher-like policies in colonial British North America and the early post-Revolutionary US. The text follows that balanced account with this...
From the text
Despite the evidence offered by [James] Coleman and the powerful arguments of [John] Chubb and [Terry] Moe, the school choice movement made relatively little headway in the 1990s. On several occasions, states included school choice initiatives on their ballots and, in every case, voters rejected the policy. Many factors contributed to these defeats, perhaps including voters' instinctive recognition that school choice could function only as a release for individual students and parents dissatisfied with public schools and not as a large-scale deplacement for public schooling. Strong lobbying against the school choice movement by most members of the educational establishment, particularly teacher organizations such as the NEA and AFT, also contributed to their defeat.(p. =?)

Will the professor remark how quickly "voters' instinctive recognition" evolved, I wonder. Perhaps the authors intend "instinctive" metaphorically, but how to interpret "recognition that school choice could function only as a release for individual students and parents dissatisfied with public schools and not as a large-scale replacement for public schooling"? In Belgium, Hong Kong, Ireland, and the Netherlands, a majority of the school population attends independent or parochial schools at taxpayer expense. See OECD, Education at a Glance and G.T. Kurian, World Encyclopedia of Education.

Many leading state equity suits to date involved cases in which the tax base of rural districts was compared to that of suburban districts. These cases have largely ignored inequaliities found in large city school systems. Here, equity suits have accomplished little. In New York, for example, the contention that city school systems are overburdened financially because of higher costs than in suburban or rural districts, and are therefore entitled to financial relief from the state, was denied by the state Supreme Court. The reluctance to address the special needs of poor urban students indicates that the United States is a long way from addressing some of the most persistent and troubling aspects of educational inequality of the late twetieth century.
The problems of urban schools, many of which stem from funding problems faced by those school districts, have been highlighted most recently in Savage Inequalities, a book by Jonathan Kozol In this provocatively titled volume, Kozol chillingly depicted the many educational deprivations that affect the largely poor and minority student populations in the nation's largest cities. However, Kozol did not refer to the issue of 'overburden', a term that points to the high cost of educating the urban poor, as brought up in the New York State school equity case. If he had, he would have been better able to answer those who point out that in some large cities, such as Atlanta, Georgia, the per pupil expenditure substantially exceeds the state average, without yielding any corresponding increase in achievement. (p. 424, 425)
Without a definition of "overburden" which does not involve urbanization, the authors make a circula argument. The direct financial cost of a school district equals its expenditures. The authors here assert that inner city minority schools cost more because they spend more money.

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