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Tuesday Talk: How much ed funding is enough?

May 29, 2012 By Joe Sheeran, Communications Director

Minnesota recently adopted a new school ranking system, replacing what No Child Left Behind required. However, the new system still relies almost entirely on standardized tests. Implementing an assessment system that more accurately pinpoints students' achievement and areas in need of improvement is going to be expensive.

With so many areas of education in need of funding, how much should we be willing to spend on assessment?  

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  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    May 29, 2012 at 8:33 am

    Why do you oppose objective assesments Joe? This isn’t the problem we face in getting more funding to education. If we end Minnesota’s blatant Racism that we call the “Drug War” all the money we need for education will be there. Proffesor Angela Davis of the California University system has produced for PBS a very good analysis of the hole we have dug for ourselves on this issue and how we have undermined education via this Public employee benifieting Racism. Only by ending this “Jim Crow” Racism will we ever find the money we need for education, healthcare, and adequate social services. Only when we stop destroying families over arrogant stupidity can we began to heal the racial disparities that are undermining our system. Whinning over testing is mearly a distraction, not a solution.

  • Ron Leurquin says:

    May 29, 2012 at 8:55 am

    Right on, lets end this ‘war on drugs’ that has gon on longer than any other ‘war’ in US history, except perhaps the ‘war on poverty’.  Were not ‘winning’ the ‘war on drugs’, just creating more problems than were supposedly solving.  Cigarettes and alcohol are legal, regulated heavily, and even taxed (some mgight say to death).  Lets do the same things with drugs, legalize it, regulate it, and tax it as much as you darned well please.

    Drug testing can still happen.  Employers dont have to tollerate drug usage any more than they tolerate alcohol usage or smokers.  There are several good examples in Europe of various levels of legalization, or just non prosecution, that work quite well.

    And now for all those nay sayers out there, if drugs were legal, and available to you at your local Walgreens, CVS, Walmart and Target; all the negative street issues of drugs would evaporate quite quickly.  Yes, that would be replaced by other problems, but none that we cant step up as a society and deal with.

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    May 29, 2012 at 10:01 am

    Thanks for the moral support Ron but as you know all the rants and raves on this blog will mean nothing if we are not in our elected officials faces. I have been doing my part in the 8th CD for many years and have drastically escalated efforts this election year as the state wide coalition to end this Nixon era garbage grows. Nothing has ever proven more effective than new state figures proving that 9 times as many Blacks and Native Americans, (over 1% of these populations each year), are being victimized by this insanity to support the “Jim Crow” institutional Racist machine in Minnesota. We are now attacking a higher percentage of our black communities than Mississippi did in the 1950’s and only a handfull of us are standing against it. The social cost is killing our once great state.

  • W. C. Salberg says:

    May 29, 2012 at 10:08 am

    I think everyone understands that we don’t all learn at the same rate and that standardized tests are not sensitive enough for 30to40% of the children.  Look at the cost of Standardized testing.  The only ones winning are the companies.

  • Ron Leurquin says:

    May 29, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    Normally you will not get me to easily defent ‘standardized tests’ because they are fraught with flaws and problems.

    I do think they can be helpful if the results can be tracked back to the specific students over time though.  then I think it can be an indication of that persons learning and PERHAPS that persons abilit or inability to learn and grow.

    As a tool to evaluate teachers, too many problems to even start to elaborate on and I am completely against its use for teacher evaluations.

  • Sue B says:

    May 29, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    Testing has its place in assessing student achievement, but it is now relied on far too heavily, and yes, the testing companies are getting rich in the process.  I don’t know what the necessary dollar amount should be, or the best way to get accurate results, but I think educators are far more capable of making that decision than legislators.  Schools need the legislature to stop deferring education payments so schools have the money they need educate our children (and assess results), even if it means raising taxes.  Testing interrupts the regular school days too frequently throughout the school year, which means fewer days of instruction for students.

  • Bernice Vetsch says:

    May 29, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    I see the basic problem as Washington’s attempt to control education country-wide, often using a single set of standards to label teachers and students as “failures” in order to fire teachers, impose school closures, and replace the schools with for-profit charters.

    Testing should be a tool for teachers to see where individual students need extra help or review, not an excuse for punishment from the federal government. 

    “Success” should be defined as students learning what local school boards, teachers and parents believe will help children become lifelong learners and good citizens.  No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top are superfluous and perhaps actually injurious. 

    No Child cost the state more than it provided in funds.  Minnesota might be better off to (1) refuse federal funds except perhaps for special ed, and (2) allow counties and cities to collect property taxes, keep what they need to fund schools and other services fully, and then give what is left over to the state, which can raise income taxes when it doesn’t have enough revenue.