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18 August 2009 @ 03:51 am
education spending  
while staking out at the gourmet burger place this afternoon and building my mind-info-storage, i came across this article on education spending (see below), which i thought was excellent and really quite enlightening - in that, one would read it and go, yeah, this makes a hell load of sense, why the hell aren't they already doing this?!

of course, essentially, i understand that while it may make a hell load of sense at a very macro level, the education policy maker/implementor would be able to dutifully list the list of constraints they face in not already implementing such measures on the micro level. i'm familiar with being in those shoes. i'm also familiar with using whatever extra you get, to patch the countless holes everywhere, instead of actually stepping back and thinking of fixing what exactly is causing those holes.

but, from the big-picture perspective, this does look like a good and workable suggestion. but, whether it remains theoretical, or if the contexts for different states differ for it to be applied universally, that requires closer examination.

i just wanted to say that i really admire those who write with such insight (although inevitably there's gotta be holes we can poke in every article), and really wish that someday i could write like them as well. wish, not hope, because that's so ... impossible.

Dumb Money, by Stefan Theil in Newsweek, 17 Aug 09
Too many nations are wasting their school spending. Here's how to get it right.


Studies such as McKinsey's suggest another important way education policy should be refocused. They find that the largest returns on investment come not from funneling more money toward top or even average performers, but toward those who have been left behind. Raising the achievement of the unskilled and excluded would lead not only to individual payoffs, such as higher incomes and more meaningful lives, but also would generate big benefits for economies, such as higher productivity and greater GDP. It would also result in broad social gains—less crime, less welfare spending, and a greater sense of cohesion. "Improving our education to get the economic growth more broadly shared is the one most important thing we can do," says Benjamin Friedman, a Harvard economist and author of The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth. He argues that changing education in this way would be one of the few ways governments could promote both equity and economic growth—not one at the expense of the other.
Mood: sick
Music: stuffy-nosed
the doobfemdog on August 18th, 2009 03:02 am (UTC)
haha, reading the second para reminds me of when our university built the spanking new admin building that i never visited.
a little less than the girl next doorin_transit on August 18th, 2009 01:54 pm (UTC)
is this the time when, as we passed the building (in between forum and yih), you remembered that you didn't pay your school fees? WAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!
the doobfemdog on August 19th, 2009 03:57 am (UTC)
got meh? i can't remember! hahahaha.
the doob: ellen sidefemdog on August 18th, 2009 03:13 am (UTC)
"Kids don't necessarily learn more if they sit in smaller classrooms, in more modern and better-equipped schools, or even if their teachers are better-paid (as opposed to just better)."

i think the issue of how much to pay teachers is a hard-to-balance act. of course, paying teachers enough is important because teaching really is a hell lot of work, but i don't think the quality of teachers increases proportionally with their pay. in fact, when you decide to increase the starting pay of teachers as a way of attracting graduates to teach, you run the risk of getting teachers who teach just for the high pay, and who don't actually have any passion of educating the next generation. of course, these people eventually might quit, and evidently many do, because of lack of passion anyway.
a little less than the girl next door: don't know what to doin_transit on August 18th, 2009 02:09 pm (UTC)
"Finland and South Korea have the world's highest-achieving high-school students—thanks in large part to a focus on teachers: improving their selection, upgrading their training, and concentrating on how they can best help individual students keep up."

agree on the teachers' pay. i guess what they can do, or probably are already doing, is to maintain the starting salary, but based on certain performance indicators and assessment reviews, etc. reward the more effective teachers in terms of higher salary increments, benefits, etc.

but then again, you will run into the perennial problem of how exactly to measure teaching performance, effective teaching, etc... do we base it on students' grades and literacy alone (directly equating it with achievement)?? this will depend on the objective - does the system aim essentially to raise basic literacy and average scores on gmat/gre/sats, or to produce well-rounded, both moral,ethical and critically thinking, analytical students?

many who sign on for teaching these days, especially in this economy, are clearly signing on as a backup career option, as many other private firms are not hiring, etc. i pity their recruiters - it must be difficult balancing between increasing their numbers and determining those who truly have some sort of a passion for teaching/will actually stay on beyond their bond period.