Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Worst Education Analyst In the State Strikes Again!

So Liv Finne wandered over to the LEAP website looking for info, and she used it to turn out yet another one of her talking points:
In 2010-11, schools added an additional 235 employees to school payrolls, increasing from 101,675 employees in 2009-10 to 101,910 employees in 2010-11.
"See, there's more employees! Funding's great! Ignore all those lying assholes who actually work in the schools, they don't know how to use the internet the way I do!"

But there's two things Liv isn't telling you, and I'm not really sure that she understands either of them:

1) That same LEAP website shows that enrollment in the state went up by about 6,000 students; in tight financial times this makes sense, as parents can't afford private tuition any longer and pull their kids into the public schools instead.

The state funds high schools at a ratio of 1 teacher for every 28.7 students; in grades K-3, it's 25.23:1. Even if you use the higher number--hell, let's round it to 29 for fun--you would still have an increase of about 207 FTE, and that's only the teachers. If I played around with the formulas for bus drivers, paraprofessionals, etc., I'm willing to bet I'd get pretty close to 235.

The point: when Liv makes a deal out of there being more employees without noting that there are also more kids, it's a lie of omission.

2) The most important thing on the LEAP webpage is the little disclaimer at the top of the far righthand column: "District Budgeted". The figures that she's playing with are from the district BUDGETS for 2010-2011 (the F195 form) and not the ACTUAL for 2010-2011 (the F196 forms, which will start rolling out soon enough).

What's the difference? Most all of those budgets were built with $200+ millions dollars of stimulus act jobs money figured in, money which was later clawed back by the state to plug last year's worst budget hole ever. Take out that money--hey, the state did--and spending is just about the same.

I'll fisk the rest of her column a different day. Right now, it's time to go do report cards for my 28 students.

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2 Comments:

OpenID Jason Whitaker said...

Working on my progress reports now. It does shock me how much people want to vilify education, but give it very little grace. Teaching 5 kids is tough. Multiply that by 5 and many of these critics would be on the floor in the fetal position.

6:40 PM  
Anonymous Daniela said...

It depends on what her point is, I mean, school funding might be bad but if her point is that there are more jobs in public schools then there you go.

10:07 AM  

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