Saturday, February 25, 2012

43,000 K-12 Schools Labeled as Low or Underachieving

Whatever one’s political point of view is regarding the bipartisan supported and consequential legislation known as “No Child Left Behind”, the one interesting yield of the legislation is an abundance of data produced. “The Testing triggered by the law, however, helped researchers gather an abundance of data on student progress in annual math and reading exams”. (1)

Apparently, data regarding K-12 educational scores were tremendously difficult to obtain before the data now available as a consequence of No Child Left Behind. “Erich Hanushek, an economist at the conservative Hoover Institute, said that 40 years ago he toiled in school districts gathering test data. By the mid-2000s, research on teacher effectiveness trickled out, but No Child Left Behind opened the floodgates”. (2)

With data now in hand, The Center of Education Policy estimates 43,000 (48%) of US schools are now low or underachieving as defined by No Child Left Behind. (3) (4)

The statistic above begs a question: the 48% low or underachieving schools, given a 300% real dollar increasing in spending on education is the US since 1960, means what? Many people state that more money does not solve the problem. Fair enough observation. However, regarding the spending and the miserable results one needs to examine the further question of: Where did the money go? If the 300% increase in spending did not yield output improvement, the resources merely disappeared and evaporated into thin air? –Or- the money/resources was absorbed by the participants of the delivery model and not delivered to the end consumer which is the student/child.

The mantra of more spending yielded stagnant or even declining results misses the point that the resources were allocated elsewhere. Was the money returned to the taxpayer? A check was written to each student? No, the money ended in the delivery model.

Regardless of the zeal to put educators on a pedestal as “those teaching the citizens of the future” and the like, one needs to look beyond the drama and romance of politically framed redirect arguments and look at the hard cold facts of educator total compensation and education administration expansion and accelerated compensation. One needs to examine the infrastructure spending and crony capitalism there associated.

The question/observation then becomes: if spending has increased by 300% in real dollars since 1960; student test scores are level or declining; school system administrators regularly making six figure incomes and six figure retirement incomes while teacher pay, benefits and retirement have escalated as well; with school building construction continuing at always ever increasing and over-run costs….then one has in fact been shown the money. That a late stage collectivist based model delivered through monopoly has merely done what it’s destined to do in its late stages: increased inputs yields no increase in output and the power purveyors of the model marginally reward underlying participants while rewarding themselves handsomely - all the while shirk increasing at an increasing rate. (5)


(1)  School Law Earns One Credit: derided ‘No Child’ initiative forms basis for broad changes in educational system, Stephanie Banchero, The Wall Street Journal, 02/09/2012.
(2) Ibid.

(3) Ibid.

(4) AYP Results for 2010-11, Center for Education Policy,

(5) From Economic Man to Economic System, Harold Demsetz, 2008, Cambridge University Press.


  1. omg, half the schools are below average. Next you're going to tell me that only 10% are in the top decile.

  2. Anonymous writes:

    “omg, half the schools are below average. Next you’re going to tell me that 10% are in the top decile”.

    Its not a bell curve. Hence your observation is incorrect.

    Rather, the 48% are below the minimum standard or 48% is the failure rate. Those above the minimum standard (which by the way is a very liberal minimum standard), that 52% above failure, one could derive an average of those above the failure line. One could determine a top decile of the group above the failure line.

    Take a look at foot note #4 and go to the link for a decription of the data: (4) AYP Results for 2010-11, Center for Education Policy,