Schools cutting back to four days

Posted by Jason | Posted in Education | Posted on 08-03-2010

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In just another example of why public education is a horrible way to educate kids, schools, with their overblown budgets, are now cutting back to four days a week.

A small but growing number of school districts across the country are moving to a four-day week, in a shift they hope will help close gaping budget holes and stave off teacher layoffs, but that critics fear could hurt students’ education.

Budget holes? There was just a recent discussion on Mises.org forums about the cost of public education, and it was actually much higher than the national average I had in my post a while back of $9,000 per student. While it seems like no one can find an actual number (go figure), the cost seems to range from $11,000 to $30,000 per student. Can you imagine what type of education the private sector could provide for that type of money. So, what does Obama say about this?

The heightened interest in an abbreviated school week comes as the Obama administration prepares to plow $4.35 billion in extra federal funds into underperforming schools. The administration has been advocating for a stronger school system in a bid to make the U.S. more academically competitive on a global basis.

Eh boy. Go figure. He’s throwing more money at it and wants a “stronger school system”. What does “stronger” even mean.  Does he want one with even less parental involvement, where the state could completely brain wash the children? Well, what do some of the local school board people say?

“We’ve repeatedly asked our residents to pay higher taxes, cut some of our staff, and we may even close one of our schools,” she said. “What else can you really do?” Despite a “lot of opposition” from parents, she said, the district is set to adopt a four-day week for next school year.

Ok, so same old same old. Higher taxes. They cut some of their staff? I am guessing they cut the staff that would annoy parents and students the most. Government, instead of looking for real ways to cut costs, only looks for ways to annoy the tax payer, so they can complain they need more money and have a sympathetic ear. Notice the first place locally to cut services is the public library. I’m sure the schools wouldn’t do that.

In the rural Peach County, Ga., district, a four-day week this school year helped school officials save more than $200,000 last semester, trimming costs for custodial and cafeteria workers and bus drivers as well as transportation expenses and utilities, said system spokeswoman Sara Mason.

“Sorry, we can’t pick your kid up for school. You’re $11,000 to $30,000 per student just isn’t cutting it.” Well, it sucks they laid off the poorer workers. Wonder if they laid off any teachers?

The district is on track to save 39 teaching positions and $400,000 by the end of the school year, helping to narrow a $1 million shortfall in the district’s $30 million annual budget.

Teachers who still work the same number of hours over four days, instead of five, generally don’t see a reduction in salary. But staff who can’t make up the lost time, such as bus drivers and cafeteria workers, are often hard-hit, losing as much as 20% of their pay.

Guess it pays to be in a powerful union. Not only was there no cut in pay, they now only have to work four days a week. It’s too bad they had to layoff the lower income folks to save the teachers. I guess there’s always welfare.

Officials in some districts say their students and teachers make good use of their day off. In Wyoming, many schools offer Friday tutoring sessions to keep students sharp, according to Dianne Frazier, an educational consultant with the state’s department of education.

via Districts Explore Shorter School Week – WSJ.com.

I bet they do make good use of their time. Teachers get to sit on the butts another day, but this time without those annoying students. Students on the other hand now have a free day, when mom and dad have to go to work.

When can we just quit with this idiotic school system that’s only function is to feed the teachers’ union more and more money by pillaging the workers of society. There is no concern for actually educating children. Anyone who doesn’t just blindly accept that our school system is to make sure all children can get an education can see it. If you looked at the performance of our schools, on practically every measure they are absolute failures.

Think about how much money is spent. For half a dozen kids, a person could start a private education business and if the cost per student was the same have revenue of $66,000 to $180,000. Of course the private sector wouldn’t stop there. They’d take on more students, and they’d capitalize on economies of scale to drop prices. Competition would drive the cost per student down substantially.

Add to that, that what we teach kids is completely useless. How many of us use even 10% of what we learned before college? I get so annoyed every night as my son spends hours doing school work. He goes to school all day, and then comes home and has at least an hour’s worth of home work every night. What really ticks me off is what the homework is. It’s things like social studies. Instead of learning history, which can actually be applied to current affairs, they waste time learning dances of another culture, a culture that he’ll probably never run into. Even if he did, wouldn’t it be better and more interesting to learn the culture in person than to waste school time learning about it? I think his time would be better spent learning reading, writing, math and history.

Of course though, the government mandates that all kids learn the curriculum set by a bunch of bureaucrats, who have a bunch of special interest groups trying to push their agenda down our kids’ throats. Do the bureaucrats care? Of course not. There is no incentive to care. They have these huge budgets and all this time to fill for students. Why not waste it on some cultural dances. Who cares if the kids can’t read or thinking logically. They made donors happy.

Well, I guess one good thing about this article is that the schools who implemented the four day week have one less day a week to make students dumber.

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Comments (5)

They don’t want the kids to have things like critical thinking skills and the wherewithal to question authority, or question what they’re told. Those things weaken their grip on the populace.

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You ask rhetorically early in your post if they have cut staff, yet you brush past the fact later that they have saved in 39 teacher positions, just stating that “Guess it pays to be in a powerful union”. If 39 teachers are let go (or there are fewer temps hired, or other means to save those expenses), then the rest (left working) has to shoulder their burden, that is probably why they have the same number of hours, and no cut in pay.

It sure didn’t pay to be in the union for those 39 which they did let go, did it?

As for your assumption of how much the cost is per student, you site a forum thread at a decidedly slanted website, and not real scientific studies. The numbers published by the Census Bureau (and linked to in the thread you refer to) says USD 9000,- in average nationally. So, the only credible number given you just dismiss out of hand, and you just go by the hear say in a forum thread, by people who you a) don’t know the agenda of, b) don’t know the background of and finally c) whose numbers veracity you have not verified!

How is that for critical thinking? It is one thing to question authority, it is another to dismiss it out of hand and rely on undocumented, unverified, untrusted sources you happen to find in a forum you happen to agree with ideologically!

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I cited the $9,000 and referenced a thread that had other citations. This isn’t a scientific journal. Even $9,000 is a lot per student, and that number was from 2005. Is anyone to believe it hasn’t climbed substantially since then? The census article states in 2005 it was up 5% from the previous year. Even if you use that same number, which I doubt it held at only 5%, you’d still be at about $11,000/student in 2009.

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As an aside to the Census Bureau numbers, it is probably as it is in Norway. The numbers are just the staff, teachers and utilities used in the school and showing up on their rolls, but other stuff that the community provide, like computer techs from the municipality, broad band from the municipality, might not be included, so the cost is certainly higher.

But, upkeep of the buildings are supposed to come from the same funds, but I guess they hardly ever do, so the municipalities often have to chip in every 5-10-20 years to either build new schools or refurbish the old ones.

That of course is due to the fact that the schools doesn’t get enough funding in the first place!

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Schools get plenty of funding. The problem is gov’t has no incentive to minimize cost and increase effectiveness. After all, it’s a mononpoly.

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