It is difficult to get a handle on just about anything that involves education, but there is a new source of information for the public that is interesting and, hopefully, useful. In this interview, Kelly McCutchen, Executive Vice President of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, explains the information available to the public regarding each school’s budget. Now, anyone can check a school’s report card and find out all sorts of things. Like….
Where does the school rank among other schools throughout the state?
What percentage of students are from families who live in poverty?
The amount of money spent by the school per student.
The amount of central office spending per student.
All sorts of things.
There are schools with high poverty rates whose performance exceeds expectations. Within the same school district, there are schools whose performance vary significantly from school to school. There are schools that spend a lot more per student that other schools, but with no significant difference in performance.
I am not sure there is any overall conclusion that can be drawn from the information available in the report card. However, it would appear that schools succeed or fail without regard to poverty, and without regard to per student spending. That leads me to believe that the difference that matters has to do with something other than money, such as the leadership of the school administration and the creativity of the teachers. If this is true, then every school should be able to succeed, all it needs is leadership and creative teachers. I am sure this is an oversimplification, but I am equally sure that leadership and creativity are a large part of it.