by Dr. Terry Stoops
Director of the Center for Effective Education, John Locke Foundation
In “I’m a Teacher and a Waste of Money,” Daniel Buck reflects on his experiences as a support teacher, wasteful spending in public schools, and the state of the profession generally. Buck writes,
I don’t mean to attack teaching as a discipline, or public education as a system. I am a teacher. I respect the vocation. I teach in a public school. However, waste has consequences. Too often the activists who most decry public education’s shortcomings are also those who wantonly advocate for futile spending. Some studies find a positive correlation between more spending and better outcomes. Other studies find none. A John Hopkins study likely got it right when it determined that it’s more a matter of how money is spent rather than a simple case of how much is spent in total.
Some teachers are ineffective and would accomplish little in any role. Some teachers are phenomenal but are stuck in positions that hinder their ability to positively impact students. All public school teachers are mired in a system that misallocates funds to resources, practices, and positions that have little benefit to students.
The solutions to public schooling’s woes are up for debate. What is not debatable is that more money alone won’t change much until the structure and systems that allow such waste are reconsidered.
I have heard educators voice similar concerns privately.