Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Governor's speech tonight

Here is what the pre-speech notifications indicate the Governor is going to say about education tonight:

Mitch says: Indiana continues to make a strong financial commitment to k-12 schools. Hoosiers spend 14% more of their income on K-12 schools than the US average.
(Maybe we should be proud of that instead of embarrassed Mitch. You'll likely say that like we should be ashamed. And guess what 60% of Hoosiers surveyed said they are willing to spend more taxes for education. Bet you don't say that tonight.)

Mitch says: K-12 spending was one of the only four areas to see an increase in the 2005-2006 state budget. The problem is where the money goes. (That's good as far as it goes. But many schools and students got less or the same while expenses rose. And as far as "where the money goes" not one patron here has ever told me that their local board's decision to renovate our facilities was a problem.)

Mitch says: School construction projects in 2003-2004 cost Indiana taxpayers 146% of the US average. Debt service on school construction is now 10% of property taxes bills, 3x the national average. (Paid for by local patrons with local money from decisions made by their locally elected representatives with a remonstrance process in place. Your point want to control it instead? Mitch knows best. So much for your push to provide more local control! You're moving around Mitch. Your talking local control and consolidating central control at the same time. Some aren't buing it..)

Mitch says: Only 61% of school operating budgets go toward instruction and learning.
(And society says the perfect number is____? Maybe with the cost of gas, insurance and other operating expenses it should be 50%?)

Indiana ranks 50th in the percent of K-12 employees who are teachers.
(What's a "teacher?" We have numerous teacher "aide" positions teaching Reading Recovery and other positions. Many of them have teaching degrees and work directly with students. They aren't labeled "teachers." In this respect the "efficiency cult" should praise us for stretching our pennies. In other cases the increases in student performance are a result of "instructional coaches" who do not directly teach children but work directly with teachers. Again, performance gains for kids - but they aren't "teachers" in the traditional sense of the word. Makes the comparison muddy but makes a nice sound bite anyway. )

Mitch says: The solution is to increase the percent of funds spent on instruction and learning.
(Rob Peter to pay Paul.. )

Every 1% moved from overhead to instructional spending would free up $100 million for student learning. (It's amazing what you guys can call overhead. Are guidance counselors, nurses, bus drivers, teacher aides, and computer technicians really overhead ?)


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