Strange article in the Inqy

So there’s your standard issue “scare-the-middle-class-parents-who-still-send-their-kids-to-public-school” story in today’s Inqy.

The first two paragraphs are solid:

A Philadelphia School District plan to send more money to schools with the neediest students has some parents worried even though the change is at least a year away.

Each school in the district receives a budget to pay for teachers, programs and other resources. There are long-standing inequities among schools in part because inexperienced teachers, who earn less, tend to work at the most troubled schools.

The author then shifts to quotes from parents regarding the devastation such an attempt at equalization might cause.

Here’s the problem and it should have been spelled out clearly:

1. Every school is allotted a particular number of teachers based on enrollment.

THEN,

2. They are given a budget for staff based on that number TIMES a set-figure per teacher. A few years ago it was $63,000. I don’t know what it is now.

If your staff is composed primarily of senior teachers, you’re fine. If, however, you have thirty teachers and twenty of them are within their first five years of teaching, your school is getting screwed.

The schools where people want to transfer are full of senior teachers. It’s the only way they can get there — a voluntary transfer after years of service. The schools where no one wants to work, where there are always vacancies, these schools have immense turnover. And these schools do not receive a fair share as a result.

The high-performing schools get to have it both ways: they get the best, most experienced teachers AND they get a huge break on the budget.

What if poor performing schools were given the differential between what the district budgeted and what their teachers actually cost?

Example:

Presently: 30 teachers @ 70K= 2,100,000 That’s all.

My idea: 30 teachers @ 60K=1,800,000 and then give that school $300K to spend.

Unfortunately, finding the make believe money that emerges from this accounting slight of hand will be impossible UNLESS you start messing with the budgets of the schools where senior teachers work…

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