Thursday, November 19, 2009

Do our schools need more money?

A few articles appeared in the last few days from the Herald regarding Florida School's need for more funding.

The first article is about a lawsuit telling Florida it doesn't spend enough on education, violating its constitution. The second article is also about a lawsuit telling Florida it doesn't spend enough on education.
Or at least that's what the Herald makes it sound.
"This suit simply asks the question: 'Do we have high quality education in this state today?' and asks the court to answer that question," said former Florida House Speaker Jon Mills, who is part of the plaintiffs' legal team. (second article)

I get the feeling from the articles that the focus of the suits will be funding, as the herald notes in the first article, the Legislature is relentlessly shifting a bigger share of education funding to school districts, lowering the state's contribution from 62 percent in 2001 to 45 percent this year.
But as I think anyone who has either graduated from the Florida school system, or has/d a child in it, funding is the least of the problems. Incompetence and inefficiencies abound in most schools, and it's a problem that I doubt these suits will address.
Teachers unions, for instance, constantly protect bad teachers, and rarely (if ever?) address that issue in public. It seems every year here in Miami-Dade stampedes of teachers descend on the School Board building to demand better pay, perhaps it's time for students and parents to hold similar rallies demanding better teachers?
There's a third article that popped up this morning that addresses a possible bid by Florida to request as much as one billion dollars in educational grant money from the federal government. Again with the assumption by all parties that the problem is money.

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