Wednesday, July 29, 2009

New York State Spends the Most in U.S. on Education

A breakdown between NYC and upstate could be very instructive

New York led the nation in K-12 education spending per pupil in 2006-07, according to new data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. The Empire State’s school spending of $15,981 per pupil was 65 percent above the national average of $9,666. New York’s total school spending of nearly $51 billion was exceeded only by California, which has more than twice as many students.

Here are some “takeaways” from the Empire Center’s report:

* New York’s state government paid for 45.2 percent of school spending, slightly below the national state-funded average of 47.6 percent. New York’s 48.4 percent locally funded share was above the national average of 44 percent. But in absolute terms, New York ranked high in both categories — fifth among states in state-supported spending at $8,293 per pupil, and third in local spending at $8,875 per pupil.

* The lion’s share of the $6,315 per-pupil difference between New York and the national average could be attributed to higher spending on salaries and benefits for instructional purposes, the new federal data indicate. In fact, New York’s spending on instructional salaries and benefits alone–which came to $11,042 per pupil, 88 percent above average–exceeded the total per-pupil spending of 37 states.

* Many assume that New York’s high school spending is in part a factor of its unusually large number of local school districts. But if true, this is not reflected in spending on education administration. New York’s per-pupil administrative expenditures were just 18 percent above the national average. If New York had reduced its administrative spending to the national average in 2006-07, the resulting savings would have come to $270 million — just 0.06 percent of the total that year.

* New York’s schools were ranked among the nation’s best in Education Week’s recent annual “Quality Count” report. But two higher-ranked states, Maryland and Massachusetts, spent $4,257 and $3,243 less per pupil, respectively. If New York spent at the Maryland rate, it would have saved $11.7 billion; if it had spent Massachusetts rate, it would have saved $8.9 billion.


British dictate: universities must do more for the working class

One confused man below. How is it going to help the working class by making fees more expensive? The only way is if the universities give more students free tuition. But that would negate what they gained through higher fees. So why bother? Leftist non-logic very much in evidence here -- as is a Nelsonian blind eye to the fact that it is failing schools that are hurting the poor -- not the universites

Universities must recruit more working-class students to justify an increase in tuition fees, Lord Mandelson said yesterday. He also admitted that a long-awaited review of top-up tuition fees, to begin this autumn, would not conclude before the general election. This means neither political party will face the wrath of middle-class voters if the review decides — as expected — that the current £3,000 cap on fees should rise.

Lord Mandelson set out his vision for higher education in his first speech to leading vice-chancellors since taking responsibility for universities as the Business Secretary.

It heralded an end to universities’ reputation as ivory towers catering for full-time, young undergraduates living away from home. The future lies in mature and part-time students taking shorter or alternative degrees, such as two-year honours degrees, part-time degrees and modular programmes that do not result in a degree, he said. This was reflected in his choice of setting for the speech: Birkbeck — which offers only part-time degrees. It is part of the University of London.

Universities’ efforts to attract students from poor backgrounds had not been good enough, Lord Mandelson said. He “intended to turn up the spotlight on university admissions”.

He described a university education as a ticket to the best-paid employment and said access to it would “inevitably define the degree of social mobility in Britain”. He added: “Any institution that wants to use greater costs to the student to fund excellence must face an equal expectation to ensure its services remain accessible to more than just those with the ability to pay.”

Universities are desperately trying to widen access by providing bursaries, setting up summer schools for disadvantaged teenagers and visiting primary schools. While this has improved the breadth of intake, many older institutions, such as Oxford and Cambridge, remain dominated by middle-class and independent school students.

Lord Mandelson had a dig at elite universities, asking: “Why, for all the work in the sector and all the seriousness with which it has tackled this question, are we still making only limited progress in widening access to higher education to young people from poorer backgrounds — especially at our most selective universities? It is not enough for universities simply to confer life advantages from one generation of professionals to their children.”

He wanted going to university to become a “peer group ambition” among pupils, but refused to be drawn on the detail of how he thought universities should widen access — or whether they should accept lower grades from applicants from disadvantaged families.

Rather than operating as remote institutions, universities should be forging links with local business and exploiting their talent for commercial gain, Lord Mandelson said. He accepted that they were not “factories for producing workers”, but said more could set up companies that market the expertise of their postgraduates and professors.

Foreign students — who account for 8 per cent of income earned by universities — are vital to the economy, Lord Mandelson said, although he revealed that several vice-chancellors had contacted him with concerns about a points-based visa system that makes it more difficult for some potential students to come to Britain.

Universities emphasised the key role of schools in widening participation in higher education. Wendy Piatt, of the elite Russell Group of universities, said: “Evidence shows that academic achievement at school continues to be key factor in determining whether a student will go on to university.”

Diana Warwick, of Universities UK, said: “While we recognise the importance of universities having strong links with employers and schools in raising aspiration, we are clear that greater attainment at 16 is still the critical factor in achieving wider participation in higher education.”

Paul Wellings, of the 1994 Group of research intensive universities, said: “It is crucial that universities work in partnership with schools to provide advice and raise aspirations.”


Australian Prime Minister fails economic history lesson

PRIME Minister Kevin Rudd has got his economic history in his latest exercise in essaying "exactly wrong". That's the view of RMIT University academic Sinclair Davidson, who says it doesn't augur well for our future. The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age morphed into something similar to the Pyongyang Post when they ran 6000 words of the PM's most recent deep thoughts over two full pages on Saturday, replete with sub-headings rarely seen outside an election manifesto. The headline across the front page of the SMH read "Rudd's recipe for recovery".

Davidson wants to know how we can trust a bloke who has got the past wrong to lead us into the future.

There's yet more huffing and puffing about those dastardly neo-liberals in the PM's piece. He also takes the novel step of having a go at the 1931 premiers' plan where governments cut expenditure, a bugbear of the ALP since the Scullin Labor government lost power at the end of that year. "It was seen as a very anti-Labor policy," Davidson says. "It was crammed down their throats by Sir Otto Niemeyer and the Bank of England and the Scullin government introduced it and lost the election.

But he adds, "whatever the flaws of the premiers' plan, it certainly did not give rise to catastrophic unemployment". Davidson points to research by RMIT colleague Steven Kates which shows how unemployment in Australia after 1932 fell more swiftly than in the US and Britain. And he pulls out a glittering nugget of trivia -- Niemeyer beat the PM's new hero JM Keynes in their civil service economics exam.

Davidson isn't worried that the PM is channelling Paul Keating channelling Jack Lang. He's worried that Rudd is talking about an entirely different country. "Australia had a v-shaped depression while the US had a big u-shaped depression. The essay shows how ignorant Kevin Rudd is of Australian economic history. He's taking the populist lessons of the Great Depression from the United States. "Americans seem to often think America is the world but the Prime Minister of Australia shouldn't think that American history is Australian history. His advisers either don't know this or don't care enough to tell him."

All up, Davidson describes the background to Rudd's latest essay as extraordinary. "He's put us into debt to the tune of $300 billion having claimed to have learned lessons that he doesn't know."

SOURCE. More on Rudd's warped manifesto here

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