Saturday, March 27, 2010

Topsy-turvy logic

The navel-gazers at one local newspaper are fixated on a single statistic.
It is alleged that Florida is last among states in spending on schools as a percentage of income.
This brings cries to raise taxes immediately and pour more money into the salaries of the adults who run the school system, which is where most spending goes.
Meanwhile, people who live in the real world look at that statistic and think to themselves: "If we are educating kids as well as, or better than, other states that are spending a lot more money, we're doing a pretty good job."
Now, let's see what School Superintendent Ed Pratt-Dannals says:
"Last year 45 of our schools increased their school grades by at least one letter grade over the previous year. The progress over the last 10 years is even more encouraging, as the number of “A” and “B” schools has increased more than 500 percent, with 102 of our 166 schools receiving an “A” or “B” last year. In 2009, for the second consecutive year, Duval County Public Schools earned a district grade of “B” from the state of Florida.
"Our district is making gains in spite of our budget being significantly cut each year."
Let's recap. Since school reform began under Gov. Jeb Bush, Jacksonville has seen significant improvement in its schools, according to the school superintendent. Currently, it has a grade of B (which is above average).
What Pratt-Dannals did not mention in this particular message is this:
In the past three years, the local school operating budget has increased from $994,243,295 to $1,006,172,080 this year.
Thus, the navel-gazer's logic goes like this: Schools are making significant gains in education, while spending more money, therefore we must have a tax increase -- NOW! -- because other states spend more money than we do!!
Boggles the mind, doesn't it?

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