My school district spends about $13,000/student each year. President Trump’s children went to private schools that cost $30,000-$50,000. Baron’s elementary school in New York charges $47,000 per student this year.
So I wonder what our president means when he says our public schools are “flush with funds”?
I wonder what it would be like to work someplace that was, actually, flush with funds.
Compared to schools in Arizona, which get about $7,000 per student, we are relatively flush here in Minnesota. My classes might be jammed with 35 kids each, but at least I have updated textbooks and pretty reliable technology (Smartboard, Wi-fi network, Chromebooks) — and although I have to buy some of my own supplies, I don’t have to pay for my own ink or copies.
Also, teachers are paid a liveable wage, if not enough to entice the top college grads. On average, Minnesota public school teachers get about $60,000 a year, which is close to median for a college-educated American. (Yeah, I know we get summers off, but most of us work about 60 hours a week in the school year, so it still comes out to about $25/hour pre-tax.)
Still, if our school district had three times as much money per student? (Maybe we could have federal vouchers that size?)
For one thing, we could cut those class sizes down to 15 kids. It’s not that I can’t teach 35 kids at a time — my students excel each year on the AP Micro, AP Macro and AP Psych tests — but it definitely limits how much writing and public speaking practice our kids get.
We could also offer our kids a lot more support. Our high school does what it can to help struggling students, like scheduling a free hour once a week where they can meet with teachers, but mostly we rely on them to “get it.” Imagine having the time to individually tutor struggling students on a regular basis?
We could hire people to deal with more of the non-teaching duties, too, like making calls and fixing technology when it (inevitably) breaks down. I dream of having an assistant who could handle paperwork!
I’d also love to have funds to be able to buy new programs when I learn about them — like MobLab interactive simulation games for economics. Not an option on our budget.
Compared to a lot of public schools out there, we’re doing pretty well on $13,000/student. Both of my kids went to my public school, and they were quite well prepared for college.
But $47,000 per student — a sum our legislators would never agree to — sounds pretty amazing. Now that would be a school system flush with funds.