Rooted in Reason: Nurturing the Seeds of Liberty

Is More Better? Education Spending Increases in Hawaii by grassroothawaii
June 2, 2011, 12:57 pm
Filed under: Education

By Melissa Short

Hawaii’s per pupil expenditure climbed to $12,399 in 2009, ranking it as the 11th highest in the nation, according to a recent U.S. Census Bureau report. This new rate marks a 12% increase compared to the previous year.

But, will increased spending ensure educational improvements in Hawaii?

Sources posit that there is no positive correlation between high per pupil expenditures and higher test scores. And this seems about right for Hawaii.  Even in spending among the highest in the nation, the state struggles to ensure that all of its students meet critical benchmarks. Hawaii’s performance is consistently behind the national average in math, reading, writing and science, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress. What’s more, 28 states that spent less per pupil than Hawaii scored higher than Hawaii on the NAEP in 2005.

As per pupil costs increase, we’re left to wonder how much of it will Hawaii’s students actually see? Only 51% of Hawaii’s education expenditures is dedicated to instruction – leaving a large portion of funds diverted away from students.  Hawaii needs to re-evaluate how it allocates educational funds and ensure that student performance is the focus.

Flexible funding models that increase student choice may prove beneficial for student performance. Specifically, performance-based funding is a promising model. The Florida Virtual School employs this model, where the virtual school is funded only after the student successfully completes a course. Hawaii could employ this model or one similar to it.  The state could tie student outcomes to funding by enabling students to employ a portion of their per pupil funding for alternative learning opportunities, such as for Hawaii’s E-School or for taking classes with online learning providers that have a proven record of success.

The bottom line? Instead of simply increasing funding each school year, Hawaii needs to re-evaluate its resource allocation and move towards a student-centric model.


1 Comment so far
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Hi Mellissa,

Here’s the key for your next look into this problem.

When I went to school, they were run by scholars who loved and studied the math, art, history, English language (not just literature), science, etc. that the taught. They didn’t “educate” us but infected us with their love of their subjects. They saw schools as places where they could share the knowledge of their subjects with us so we master the disciplines they loved, carry centuries of knowledge accumulated by Western Civilization forward an EXTEND IT!.

Today they are run by “professional educators” who loved and studied the process of education. Aside from Education 101 being the eternal gut course used by jocks who need a “guaranteed” “B” with little work, they see schools as places where they can get paid that pay them to practice their trade — the process of education — because that has no real economic value outside government funded programs.

Most importantly of all, they believe they were born with the infinite wisdom to teach children how to think.

While my teachers taught us to “Reason” … for which the most important epoch of human history is named – The “Age of Reason” that laid down the foundation for the most important words ever written by humans … !

I mean look at the sheer hubris of “professional educators” believing they have the God-like power to grade any child with “Meets Expectations”. Who the hell are they to believe they can look into the heart of a child and know what the child can do, i.e. what they decide they world can expect from a child they hardly know?

Yep … the only problem with Hawaii’s schools is that taxpayers pay dearly to have Hawaii’s children exposed to learning … and the legislature gives our money to people who use Hawaii’s children to run educational programs and processes whose only purpose is to please the government folks who get sold those silly things.
The only solution is to get the schools back into the hands of parents and scholars.

Here’s how: The State Admission Act provides that INCOME derived from land owned by the federal government ceded to the new State of Hawaii government upon admission to the Union can be spent for 5 purposes. OHA’s beneficiaries are listed 2nd, and they used that to claim 20% (1/5th) of the Gross Revenues — $20 million per year they have amassed into a several hundred million slush fund they use to lobby for more.
BUT PULBLIC EDUCATION WAS LISTED 1ST! So let’s demand an OPED (Office of Public Education) that gets its $20 million per year. Restrict its board to parents of children in public schools. And let them spend the money lobbying for better schools. NOTE: Parents of a child in public schools cannot become perpetual seat holders as many on the OHA board have become … (and most in Congress seem to become).
What do you think?
REMEMBER … the purpose of education is action not just learning. And if GR want’s people to rally with it, it needs to give us something concrete TO DO beside read its learned dissertations on the obvious fact that government has become “destructive of these ends”.
George L. Berish

Comment by George L. Berish

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