$5.05 for the Future

Yesterday I mentioned that we have reached a new nearly 40 year low of percentage of personal income spent on government services.  It now stands at $5.05 per $100 of personal income, the lowest since the gubernatorial days of Ronald Reagan.  There are very real effects of that:

Over the past two years, California, Georgia, Nevada, Ohio, Utah and Wisconsin have loosened legal restrictions on class size. And Idaho and Texas are debating whether to fit more students in classrooms.

Los Angeles has increased the average size of its ninth-grade English and math classes to 34 from 20. Eleventh- and 12th-grade classes in those two subjects have risen, on average, to 43 students.(NY Times)

I’ve never taught in a traditional school setting, but having worked with teenagers in the past, I can assure you that you can not teach a math class effectively to either 34 or 43 teenagers.

At some point, we have to take this information in and understand what the anti-government forces have done to our once proud public school system, and what they are doing to a social safety net that is stretched so thin that the wholes are visible from space.  We all lose when one student fails because we couldn’t get them the resources they needed to succeed.  We all fail as our students fall through the cracks.

UPDATE: I need to point out that part of the reason the number has decreased is that Brown’s budget calls for the shifting of some services from the state to local governments. This figure only covers the state’s portion.

36 thoughts on “$5.05 for the Future”

  1. Now if only the teachers agreed to take a 20% cut in their total compensation, we could hire 20% more teachers and save public education.  Is it about the children, and not about the money, right?

  2. They would live in their cars and only eat McDonald’s Double Cheeseburgers, allowing them to reduce their pay  by 40% and ensuring that they never lived long enough to collect a pension.

  3. I looked at Brown’s budget and I asked a few teacher friends about it and they couldn’t give me answers so here it goes:

    total budget spends approx $10K per kid

    61% goes to Classroom instruction so ~6K

    the other 39% goes to admin and infrastructure.

    The HIGHEST teacher salary I’ve seen is 86K (~80K). The Average is around 50K (yes, I’m excluding the reported 100K+ OC Drama teacher)

    So if a class size is optimally 20 students that means each class gets $120K (I’m rounding here)  for instruction. Subtract the highest salary you get $40K dedicated to instruction.  With bigger class rooms like 40 you get non-teacher instruction costs per room up to 160K.

    My question is where is the difference going to? Because according to the budget breakdowns we could be paying teachers more with what we have (and I support much higher teacher salaries). Maybe I missed something. I think you guys already have the brown budget numbers and tese same breakdowns but I’ll post links if you need them.

  4. Less than 3% of expenses for the school district go to administrators’ salaries and benefits. They have consistently reduced the number of top administrators and administrative staff over the last several years.

    The calculation that anti-education forces consistently make to show that there is a tremendous amount of waste in school systems is deliberately deceptive and ignores any real discussion of school funding and where the money goes.

    I continue to think that there might be savings to be realized in the 17% (if I remember correctly) of California’s education budget that goes to special education.  

  5. It looks more likely than ever that the whining Republicans will not give in on the special election and JB will be soon releasing an all cuts budget, which the Democrats will not approve.

    On Monday, Brown said that if his tax plan fails, “We’ll either get an all-cuts budget or government will be paralyzed, and they’ll just sit there like they have in years past until they run out of cash.”


    The end is near.  Very near.

  6. Wow – Am I getting ripped off here.

    This figure is well over $18 for me. I’m lower middle class but pay an average of 9% State Sales Tax and about 9% in Personal Income Tax with nothing left over to save.   That is like $18 for every $100 of personal income.  And that doesn’t count anything goes to Federal Gov’t.

    Who in California is only paying $5.05?  

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