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PostEducation Spending and Performance; Highland Park, Michigan (Randy Black, USA, 07/06/13 4:51 am)
In his June 24 post about education spending by state, Paul Pitlick made the case that the state of Texas was near the bottom of the list of states pertaining to overall spending on education of public school students.
I noted that the ranking of Texas as 38th in some rankings and as low at 49th in others in per student spending annually. I attempted to point out that the ranking in spending is not the real issue; it's the result.
Today, we find that the state of Michigan, while ranked at 9th nationally for school spending per student from local, state and federal funding sources, the results of such spending is disastrous for districts such as Highland Park in Michigan.
According to the US Census Bureau, the Highland Park district's 2011 results (near Detroit) for literacy in reading, math, science and social studies demonstrate that their students ranked far below those of other states who spend far less per student than does Michigan.
Michigan's Highland Park District: "Each year, kids in 11th grade take the Michigan Merit Exam to see if they are college-ready. In 2011, 90 percent of Highland Park students failed the reading portion, 97 percent failed the math section, and 100 percent failed the social studies and science portions. Not one of the district's 69 eleventh graders was ready for college in science and social studies." Math and reading were close behind. Not surprisingly, the Michigan ACLU is suing for educational fraud.
The district operates two K-8 schools and a high school that have been in trouble for their financial troubles (despite the huge spending advantage over Texas) and a move to appoint emergency managers for the schools.
Said Michigan State University: "Dumping more money in the system is not a solution," countered Eileen Weiser, a member of the State Board of Education. She compared investing more in Michigan's current public education system to bigger and bigger car repairs for an old jalopy. "At some point, you have to make a decision to buy a new car," Weiser said.
"Michigan has in various times been in the top 10 in funding schools but in the bottom half of student achievement," Weiser said. "If there were a relationship between money and competence, it would show up in results."
JE comments: Ouch, Randy! It's cruel to beat up on Highland Park, which is six miles south of here along Woodward Avenue. Best known as the birthplace of the Model T, HP now has a post-Apocalyptic appearance that makes Detroit, which surrounds it on all sides, look like Boston or San Francisco in contrast. I'm not sure what is to be done with HP, but it is not an indicator of overall school performance in Michigan. Nor is it a sound argument for spending less on public education.