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Newsweek’s Top Public Schools

Lots of reaction to yesterday’s post about Newsweek’s public-school rankings. A favorite:

I always like to carry the math a bit farther to the average class size:

So if average class size is 20 (and it nearly never is this low), then 20 * $23,000 = $460,000 – $70K for the teacher leaving about $390,000.  Where does the $390,000 go?  Multiply $390,000 by the number of classrooms and then you have calculated the largesse.

[My city] is about at the $7,000 per student range with a 28 per class or ~200K per class.  Teacher receives about $50K.  That is the tragedy of the system. Your nine months of work comment is spot on.  My wife is a public school, special ed teacher and I always have to remind her that she is being paid for 9 months of works. The work is hard. The pay is not bad.
There are two more GIANT problems with public education:
1) teachers and students need to be able to be fired more easily.  It is still difficult to remove a bad teacher; the strategies that schools use to  isolate the negative impact of a terrible teacher on the kids is remarkable.  A small percentage of the students should not be in school and they ruin it for the rest.  If minimal thresholds for behavior, tardiness, and attendance are not met the students should be quickly fired (i.e. expelled) until the start of the next school year. 
 2) The single biggest determining factor for student performance is the parental culture in their home.  If the culture supports reading and education the child performs well no matter the quality of the school, materials or teacher.  Not really sure how to deal with this except through advertising and promotion.  In theory, the state pulling back from the compulsive educational requirement would make parents more accountable.  No parent wants to have to deal with an expelled child all day.

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