Study rewards schools for squandering tax dollars

As a Florida resident, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Florida schools are now ranked in the top five nationally. Florida's approach to education has, in the past, been suspect. Efforts initiated a little more than a decade ago by then Governor Jeb Bush seem to be paying-off. The 2011 Quality Counts report published by Education Week gave Florida an overall grade of B minus. The report grades states and the District of Columbia employing broad criteria including academic standards, student achievement, and funding. No state was given an overall grade of A, nor was any system given a grade of F.

What was Florida's main problem, according to the study? Florida received a grade of F for total funding. The grade for funding equity was a B plus meaning that available funds are shared fairly. The study downgrades Florida schools for not spending enough money. Sadly, this means that there is no pretense that states should strive to provide quality education efficiently.


If you were looking to buy a new car you would consider factors such as gas mileage, reliability, safety, style, and performance. You would want to buy a car at a good price. I never heard anyone complain that the main problem with their new car was that its price was too low. The same would be true if you were looking to buy a new refrigerator or a pair of shoes. You expect to get bang for your buck. You wouldn't criticize a manufacturer for producing an affordable product.


For some reason, this whole idea of getting something for a good price is lost when we talk about government services. At one time it was fashionable to evaluate government programs on a cost-benefit basis. The more taxpayers received for their tax dollars, the better a government program was said to be. Somehow this is now all lost.


A sad aspect of the grading system is seen in the District of Columbia school system. The system judged worst overall in the Quality Counts report was awarded a grade of A for funding.


The question should be whether taxpayers are getting their money's worth. Florida taxpayers seem to be. This doesn't mean Florida schools wouldn't benefit from more tax dollars, but it does mean that the dollars they do receive are well spent. Florida schools shouldn't be penalized for efficiency. District of Columbia schools should be graded down, not up, for their ineffectual use of taxpayer dollars.


Dale Bandy received his Ph.D. in business from the University of Texas at Austin. He has taught at four universities, published ten books and 40 articles. Two of his recent articles have appeared in The American Thinker.

As a Florida resident, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Florida schools are now ranked in the top five nationally. Florida's approach to education has, in the past, been suspect. Efforts initiated a little more than a decade ago by then Governor Jeb Bush seem to be paying-off. The 2011 Quality Counts report published by Education Week gave Florida an overall grade of B minus. The report grades states and the District of Columbia employing broad criteria including academic standards, student achievement, and funding. No state was given an overall grade of A, nor was any system given a grade of F.

What was Florida's main problem, according to the study? Florida received a grade of F for total funding. The grade for funding equity was a B plus meaning that available funds are shared fairly. The study downgrades Florida schools for not spending enough money. Sadly, this means that there is no pretense that states should strive to provide quality education efficiently.


If you were looking to buy a new car you would consider factors such as gas mileage, reliability, safety, style, and performance. You would want to buy a car at a good price. I never heard anyone complain that the main problem with their new car was that its price was too low. The same would be true if you were looking to buy a new refrigerator or a pair of shoes. You expect to get bang for your buck. You wouldn't criticize a manufacturer for producing an affordable product.


For some reason, this whole idea of getting something for a good price is lost when we talk about government services. At one time it was fashionable to evaluate government programs on a cost-benefit basis. The more taxpayers received for their tax dollars, the better a government program was said to be. Somehow this is now all lost.


A sad aspect of the grading system is seen in the District of Columbia school system. The system judged worst overall in the Quality Counts report was awarded a grade of A for funding.


The question should be whether taxpayers are getting their money's worth. Florida taxpayers seem to be. This doesn't mean Florida schools wouldn't benefit from more tax dollars, but it does mean that the dollars they do receive are well spent. Florida schools shouldn't be penalized for efficiency. District of Columbia schools should be graded down, not up, for their ineffectual use of taxpayer dollars.


Dale Bandy received his Ph.D. in business from the University of Texas at Austin. He has taught at four universities, published ten books and 40 articles. Two of his recent articles have appeared in The American Thinker.

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