Mo’ Money for Schools Across the Board?


The Virginia Board of Education (VBOE) has published its annual report on Virginia public schools. The report catalogs numerous deficiencies in the state school system, with an emphasis on unequal educational outcomes. And it recommends mo’ money across the board — mo’ money for teacher pay, mo’ money for mo’ teachers and staff, mo’ money for poor schools. You know the drill.

The report contains an informative graphic (replicated above) that shows the changing demographics of Virginia’s school population. The percentage of white students has declined over the past decade. Whites no longer comprise a majority in Virginia’s school population. The percentage of black students has declined as well. But the percentage of Asian and Hispanic students has soared.

The number of English learners has increased from 87,000 students a decade ago to 107,000 students in 2018-19. As it happens, according to the VBOE’s searchable Standards of Learning database, only 34.7% of English as Second Language (ESL) students passed their reading SOLs last year, compared to 80.9% for other students. The disparity for writing was even more dismal.

The Commonwealth can increase educational spending across the board — more money for everybody and everything — or it can focus added spending on where the investment returns are the greatest. The greatest inequality in Virginia schools is between those who speak English as a native language and those who don’t. If we want to reduce educational disparities, we’ll get the most bang for the buck by focusing resources on teaching immigrant kids how to read and write English. Once these students understand what’s being said in class, progress in other subjects will follow. Just a thought…

— JAB

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7 responses to “Mo’ Money for Schools Across the Board?

  1. You didn’t link and I’m not going to their website just now….did they report or estimate changes in the private school or home schooled population over the same time period?

  2. I’d like the link. I know some people I intend to get it to.

  3. I couldn’t find it, only one from 2018.

  4. If you want to look at the raw VDOE enrollment data this is the best link:https://p1pe.doe.virginia.gov/apex/f?p=180:1:15583047703334:SHOW_REPORT:NO:::

    It’s not really possible to get the same data for Virginia K-12 students educated privately.

    • Need to give VDOE credit – this database and tool that they have made available is clearly done so to provide wide access to data. There is so much good data here that we sometimes forget and want to see something similar for private schools and no such thing……..

  5. re: ” It’s not really possible to get the same data for Virginia K-12 students educated privately.”

    so much for “transparency” , eh?

    re: ” or it can focus added spending on where the investment returns are the greatest. ”

    that’s a problematic perspective IMHO

    the basic thing is that EVERY CHILD should be educated to some basic standard – and if we do that – there really is “equal” opportunity or equity.

    It does not have to be about MO money –

    If those rural schools that have been touted recently, they CHOSE to NOT offer higher level programs so they could concentrate on all kids meeting basic standards.

    Some would argue that – that “deprives” the more talented from reaching THEIR potential… but the question is – if we can’t find BOTH kids-potentials AND minimum equity – which do we choose?

    So…. if we provide higher level programs for some kids – we then say that we need MO MONEY to help the lower level kids.

    So the question is – did we already spend the MO MONEY on something other than the lower level kids and now anything additional becomes the MO MONEY problem?

  6. Jim says: The Virginia Board of Education (VBOE) has published its annual report on Virginia public schools. The report catalogs numerous deficiencies in the state school system, with an emphasis on unequal educational outcomes. And it recommends mo’ money across the board — mo’ money for teacher pay, mo’ money for mo’ teachers and staff, mo’ money for poor schools. You know the drill.”

    The more I read about The Virginia Board of Education (VBOE), and State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, the more I’m convinced that these “elite” bureaucracies now do more harm to students in Virginia than good.

    Here we see yet again the state’s failure to address real problems of K-12. Instead, VBOE takes the typical easy way. It throws ever more of the peoples’ money at an already dysfunctional educational culture. One that has impaired, diluted and too often destroyed kids education for generations. This simple prolongs that sick cultures ability to harm kids, while it wastes the money of taxpayers & parents whose kids it fails to educate.

    Lets find the ethics, character, and courage to fix real problems. Lets demand that kids actually learn in school. Solutions are obvious. F0r example, in today’s Wall Street Journal we find this by Jackson Toby:

    “… When students realize that they will get into college no matter what they learn in grade school or high school, they will have no incentive to forgo activities that are more fun than attending school, listening to teachers, and doing homework.

    As Albert Shanker, the late president of the American Federation of Teachers, wrote in 1993, “Kids are just like adults: they will work to get what they want. If they know they have to work hard, listen in class, and come to school every day with their homework done to get into college, they’ll do that. If they know they can get by with less and still get into college, that is what they’ll do.”

    … City University of New York, it charged no tuition but admitted only applicants who scored well on an academically difficult test. After African-American and Puerto Rican protesters chained shut the gates of the college in 1969 to call attention to the relatively low numbers of minority students, in 1970 City College adopted a policy of “open admissions” and began accepting underprepared students.

    Remedial education was to be the solution. By 1978 the New York Times reported that “two out of three students entering City College now require remedial work in writing, mathematics or reading, and one in five needs it in all three.”

    Twenty-two years after open-admissions experiment started, liberal journalist James Traub spent 18 months observing how it worked. … (his) 1994 book, “City on a Hill,” revealed students with academic handicaps too severe to be repaired by their efforts or the efforts of their teachers. … of 155 students placed in its remedial English program found … only seven had graduated after six years, and another half-dozen or so after seven years. Only 15% were projected to complete college after a decade. They weren’t flunked out; they gave up and dropped out.

    For a student to understand what college teachers are teaching, he needs to have developed, grade by grade, a working vocabulary of several thousand words. (Otherwise) students couldn’t keep up. … For many of these students, the problem isn’t that they can’t afford college; it’s that they didn’t have sufficient academic commitment in the lower grades to get ready for college. To become ready, they would need new childhoods to replace the ones they had. Even generous taxpayers can’t give them that.” End Quote.

    For more of this fine article see:
    https://www.wsj.com/articles/free-college-for-all-is-an-experiment-that-has-already-failed-11575672814

    Its author Mr. Toby is a professor of sociology emeritus at Rutgers. His latest book is “The Lowering of Higher Education in America: Why Student Loans Should Be Based on Credit Worthiness.”

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