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December 02, 2009
January 28, 2011
February 02, 2011
Guest blogger Bruce Hunter, associate executive director of the American Association of School Administrators, analyzes Fordham's latest publication, How Americans Would Slim Down Public Education.
The new Fordham Institute poll regarding how to reduce the cost of public education shows in part that the public knows a good deal about their schools and the effects of the now four-year long recession/depression public schools are experiencing. Unfortunately, the poll either didn’t fill in context or didn’t report contextual information.
The public gets it—compare its opinions with actions being taken:
Other poll findings need context. For example, seeking layoffs by effectiveness not experience overlooks existing labor contracts and state law. Freezing pay was a favored option in the poll, but we don’t have data on how common that was, except anecdotally where it seemed common.
It is interesting that the one question concerning the cost of special education drew the response that there ought to be limits to costs in some circumstances. However, in reality there aren’t limits except those set by the courts, which have high attendant costs. And the cost limits set by the courts have moved steadily upward. No wonder charter schools shy away from the high-cost special education students.
Finally, the poll did not include the cost of meeting nonnegotiable federal and state mandates regarding everything from class size to what can be served for lunch. Leaving out the cost of mandates gives an incomplete picture of what the public would say if given more context. But all in all, the poll does a service by shedding some light on cuts the public would make.