Zakaria: U.S. must spend more on education for poorer children
December 4th, 2013
10:39 AM ET

Zakaria: U.S. must spend more on education for poorer children

The latest results of a new global exam given to 15 year-olds showed American students to be average in science and reading and below average in math. There were little or no gains in the last decade, while other countries raced ahead of the United States. Anderson Cooper speaks with Fareed and Amanda Ripley, author of the Smartest Kids in the World and How They Got That Way, about why children in Shanghai and Finland seem to be doing so much better. This is an edited version of the transcript.

Fareed, this latest study is one of a continuing string of studies that shows the U.S. educational system lagging behind the rest of the world. What do you make of the results?

Zakaria: The study is very revealing. What it shows is that while we're sort of walking around in one of those people movers going nowhere, the rest of the world, very many countries, are on escalators. What this shows is that it's not so much that we've been doing anything dramatically badly, but in the context in which everybody else is playing to win, we're falling behind badly. And all of a sudden, we look at the difference between us and countries like South Korea and Singapore and it's widening. But increasingly, the gap between us and countries like Poland is also widening.

And, Amanda, you look at Vietnam, which just started this study and has a lot of child poverty, they've done really well. I mean, what are we doing wrong and what are they doing right?

Ripley: It was shocking to see Vietnam for the first time ever appearing in this test at the very top of the rankings. You know, up there with Finland and Canada and Poland, Estonia, too. These are countries with significant levels of child poverty, plenty of problems.

And they're not spending as much on education in a lot of cases as people in the United States is.

Ripley: Right. No, we spend more than all but four countries in the world per people, and those four countries are not for the most part on the top 10 list. So it’s not just a matter of spending. It is not just a matter of goodwill. It’s not just a matter of how much testing you do or how many students you have in your classroom. It really seems to get at, you know, how have these very small number of countries managed to inject a level of rigor through and through in their system, not just with their teachers, but also with their parents and their students?

Fareed, what do you see as what the United States could do better or is not doing well enough?

Zakaria: Well, at one level we're just not playing to win. There isn’t a real national focus that drives down to the states that we really are falling behind. Lots of people believe we're not and we're number one and we do things great. The first thing is these countries, almost all of them, their kids go to school a lot more than we do. They have much longer school days. They have much longer school years.

More from GPS: What Finland can teach us

I did back of the envelope calculations. A kid in South Korea by the time he is 18, by the time he has graduated from high school, has spent almost two years more in high school. And when you do something for longer, whether it's music lessons, whether it's sports, whether it's academics, you're going to be better at it.

Amanda, do you agree with it?

Ripley: It’s complicated. Because on the one hand I think that's true in many countries, that they are spending more time in school. On the other hand, other countries are spending about the same time in school like in Finland. American teenagers, for example, do more hours of homework than some of the students in some of these countries. What seems to matter most is not the quantity but quality. They are being asked to do a lot of work that maybe doesn't actually make them think very much for themselves, and you can see that mirrored in these results where the kinds of math problems that American kids are doing well on are pretty basic problems that require them to just, you know, deliver the result. And the kinds of problems they're really struggling with compared to their peers around the world are the kinds that involve thinking, that involve taking a real world problem like, say, figuring out the tip at a restaurant and turning it into mathematical thinking.

So those kinds of things that we know are really valuable in the economy today, those higher order skills are what's being neglected in the U.S.

Right, that seems particularly scary.

Zakaria: What's most scary about it, along those lines, is that until about 10 years ago, one consolation was the very best American students did pretty well. We ranked, the best kids in Massachusetts were up there with Singapore and South Korea. No longer true. Even our best students are no longer at the very top. They're doing OK. But they're not up there with Shanghai, Singapore, and South Korea.

Does some of this have to do with how education is funded in the United States?

Zakaria: The simple difference if you were to look at all these other countries, particularly the good ones, in those countries they spend more on poor kids, on kids who are disadvantaged, on the theory they're the ones who need the most help.

Our system, as you know, is funded by property taxes. So we do the opposite. We tend to spend lots of money in affluent suburbs, we spend relatively less money in inner city places. And that means those kids, those disadvantaged kids really never have a chance to catch up.

So, Amanda, what is the takeaway on this?

Ripley: Well, I think it's true what Fareed is saying. We could do much better on equity, we should put much more attention into raising the bar for who gets to study teaching in college and how rigorous that training is. And I think the fact that 45 states have agreed on a set of common core standards which are more rigorous and aligned to international norms, if we can keep pushing through all the controversy around this and get to a good place, that's a huge step in the right direction.

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Topics: Education • Singapore • South Korea

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soundoff (569 Responses)
  1. baptist_deacon

    Amazing. First he says we aren't spending enough on poor children, then he says the amount of spending is not a factor. Fact is, the reason our kids don't do well, is because poor families don't make education a priority. Rich families on the other hand, do make it a priority. I know, because I grew up in a wealthy family. They bugged me constantly about school issues. In poorer countries, people see education as a way out of poverty, but here in the US, people are encouraged to had over their parenting responsiblitiies to the state. If kids still do badly in school, its the state's fault they think. People will take advantage of this stupidity and say schools need more money, which benefits their friends in the teacher's union, which benefits liberal leaders. In the end, liberals win and kids loose.

    December 4, 2013 at 10:29 pm |
  2. mike

    This is all BS. Any freshman level statistics student could tell you that the samples were skewed. China only supplied data from students in the city of Shanghai. This is part of the continued assault on the hard working teachers in this country. Public education and not private education is what built this country.

    December 4, 2013 at 10:33 pm |
    • Random Guy

      You are absolutly correct, the statistics are completely skewed. America is the only country that all school age children are tested. In countries like China if you fail the early tests you are no longer included in the education system. You may be provided with vocational training of somekind, but if your parents can't pay for private education then you dont get any. I would like to see how the top 50% of US students stack up against the rest of the word. That would be a much better representation of how well our education system is working.

      December 4, 2013 at 11:23 pm |
      • Ash

        top 10% of American students are Chinese

        December 5, 2013 at 12:14 am |
      • Nelba

        Thanks for a breath of fresh air. And for saving me the trouble of typing something similar. It seems like Secretary of Education Duncan & others have a vested interest in making our students look worse than they are.

        December 5, 2013 at 3:07 am |
      • Aaron S

        Nelba- the last paragraph in the article tells you the DOE reason for this type of reporting: they want to fully implement common core and take control of curriculum away from the local school boards- since they obviously can't compete with the rest of the world...sigh.

        December 5, 2013 at 9:17 am |
    • Don Smith

      You are correct. Putting numbers togeather seems to be their thing. The issue is the U.S. basically has lost control of our young people where in country's like china they rule with an Iron fist and control forever. Technology has shortened the distance between China and the U.S. Control has out distanced the education circle. Not for all but for those that have very little drive and their parents have to much expendable cash for lunch and a car.

      December 5, 2013 at 8:20 am |
    • Bobpitt

      Ha Ha Ha... still American students are behind many other countries example Costa Rica Chile and many other third world countries have lower illiteracy rates than the US, you are graduating High school students that are functionally illiterate.. not a sign of teachers doing their job..!!! also Universities ratios between foreign students vs American students ""more students from other countries again"" not a good sign...
      Parents will blame teachers before taking responsibility for their kids, a culture that glorifies mediocrity than excellence,. just a few points for you to digest...

      December 5, 2013 at 8:27 am |
    • Cord

      Correct, but how did you ever figure that out with your bad American Education?

      The one thing I will say though is that my wife, who grew up in another country, had teachers who were very very well versed in their subjects. Her math teacher had a math degree whereas many of our math teachers hear have education degrees with a little extra emphasis on math, which I think hinders some of our progress relative to what it could be. Also in her country, everyone took calculus, physics, etc, even if your future plans didn't require it. The only downside to their education is it was highly theoretical.

      December 5, 2013 at 8:33 am |
    • JimfromBham

      Your viewpoint may be largely correct, but it is somewhat disputed by the comments about our "best" kids, who are no longer at the top of the international pack. The "best" kids from other countries now outperform our "best".

      December 5, 2013 at 8:45 am |
  3. brian barton

    Sometimes, I wonder the validity of some of these tests. I think the biggest reason why our educational system is flawed is because our priority system is flawed. Government tends to cut spending from education, then the money is not funneled to the necessary channels, but also the priorities of the children are flawed as well. We live in a society here in the US where everything else takes precedent over learning. In inner cities the mindset of the community is hopeless from the adults right down to the children.

    I spoke at a school in the inner city a few weeks ago and it seemed as if the children didn't even care. Where is this coming from? The environment in which they are surrounded by. Those in the suburbs fare no better because when you operate from a position of privilege, do you really have to mindset to work hard and study when you know a connection here or there will boost you to the high society?

    Money shouldn't be spent for the sake of just spending because if it is not fulfilling a purpose it does no one any good.

    Another reason, I think our educational system is failing us is because we teach to much in the idea of theory. Nothing is practical and applicable in our educational system. Not everyone is groomed or want to go to college but do want to live a sustainable life. So, how do we do that? We must first change the way we educate and get away from this rote system of learning, this outdated way of teaching, this aristocratic way of educating. We should start incorporating trade in our learning and educational system because I believe that it will foster interest in learning but will also spawn creativity.

    Again, before all of this could change we have to change the mentality of our children and get them to realize the urgency of their futures. Other countries have a culture of learning, that is something we lack.

    December 4, 2013 at 10:43 pm |
    • Jo

      Amen!

      December 4, 2013 at 11:18 pm |
    • le

      True, it is foolish to think that it is ALL about the money. In NJ it was state law for years that the money was taken from the 'burbs and given to the urban city schools. The "poor"city schools ended up better financed then the burbs- BUT only 1 urban school became an example of rising from the ashes. The rest failed as much as before Abbot districts were implemented. The 'burbs finally rebelled and asked for their money back!

      December 5, 2013 at 2:42 am |
      • Bobpitt

        Because is a cultural problem...!!!!!!! look what on TV.. Housewives of Atlanta, Bad Girls, Jersey Shore, plus all Hollywood glorifying drug use, is cool to be on rehab anymore, is cool to have your pants low so everybody can see your underwear, is cool to have tattoos, is cool to be bad... O geeee I wonder why kids are not learning!!!!!!

        December 5, 2013 at 9:00 am |
    • Aaron S

      I worked in the inner city with various school districts. I'll never forget going to a back-to-school night ten years ago and counting more teachers and administrators in the auditorium than parents. Even outstanding teachers will struggle to succeed when the parents have so little interest in their children's education. Some of those parents were probably working their second or even third jobs, but most simply didn't care enough to come.

      December 5, 2013 at 9:24 am |
    • TexDoc

      USA spends more per child than any other country on the planet. Your argument doesn't bear weight.

      December 5, 2013 at 9:37 am |
  4. Jack Smythe

    In America we place too much emphasis on sports and athletics and not enough on math, sciences, foreign languages or academics in general. It is not the football players, basketball players, or cheerleaders who will be designing the next generation iPhone, or fixing the economy, or coming up with new energy solutions, or teaching our next generation of kids. We have lots of money to upgrade gymnasiums and for high school sports teams. Rarely do we have enough money for libraries, laboratories, or for clubs such as mathletes or debate teams.

    December 4, 2013 at 10:51 pm |
    • janetmermaid

      I think that's a big part of it. Here is Texas (ugh, land of Rick Perry and Ted Cruz) we have multi-million dollar football stadiums at high schools while teachers have to bring their own supplies to their classrooms. Football programs are expanded while music and art classes are entirely eliminated.

      December 5, 2013 at 8:35 am |
      • QUEENEY63

        AMEN TO THAT! Athletes get all the attention. The US caters to them. The captain of the football team is Mr. Popular but the captain of the Chess team gets ridiculed.

        December 5, 2013 at 9:59 am |
  5. ga OBgyn

    Baptist Deacon, I agree. I live in a fairly rural area and my kids go to a public school(It's the only one we have). They are A+ students and have been since childhood. They never get a day when their studies and their activities aren't discussed at home. They have been pressed to make good grades and to succeed outside of school(read: a job!!) since they were children and were old enough to work, respectively,

    The majority of their schoolmates, especially the poorer ones, focus WAAAAY more on athletics than academics. My wife and I have been disparaged by other parents before because of how hard we drive our children. But in our opinion, results matter, and we get them.

    I hear so many parents of my children's cohorts at school say that without athletics, their kids would be uncontrollable and would never do any work. B*&^S#@T. Parents just don't want to do the hard stuff.

    The greatest teacher is a devoted parent, and nothing; no amount of money, no well paid teacher, no beautiful school building, and certainly no football coach, can replace that. One can also correctly infer that with a devoted, teaching parent at home the deficiencies of many schools can be overcome. I can personally attest to that as our public school leaves a LOT to be desired. However doing so requires way more effort than encouraging a kid to play sports does. From what I see, the only kids who get that sort of support are the ones whose parents truly value an education. It takes that sort of value because it is a commitment that over time turns into a HUGE amount of work. It is a labor of love.

    December 4, 2013 at 10:59 pm |
  6. mike johnson

    ... it is not a matter of money ... Finland spends only half of that of the United States per student ...

    December 4, 2013 at 11:10 pm |
    • TexDoc

      The best stat I can use, Finland only has one administrator for every 10 teachers, in the USA there is one administrator for every 2 teachers. US education is top heavy in management.

      December 5, 2013 at 9:38 am |
  7. ML

    We have created a bunch of whiners. The kids whine, the parents whine. U.S. kids that misbehave are tolerated instead of being expelled, punished and made examples of. Teachers and parents have no recourse. Punishment and consequences have been deemed illegal.

    December 4, 2013 at 11:22 pm |
  8. john

    Money is not the problem...spoiled, self centered kids combined with teachers and parents that have no disciplinary options have created a system that no amount of money can fix

    December 4, 2013 at 11:37 pm |
  9. freedom_junkie

    The controversial book "Deliberate Dumbing Down of America" by a former Reagan Education Secretary will tell why American Education is declining !! China has stopped adding Flouride to water since 1970s. Flouride known to lower IQ by 10-20% is pumped into US water (heavily in Black and Hispanic neighborhoods to cause High Crime rate !!) . The Outsourcing of US Economy is tied to LOWERING US Education K-12 !! This essentially imprisons Americans to become a consumer society SURVIVING in a line outside Walmart with poor education , unable to do any high skilled work WHILE the Top ONE Percent Corporate America gets Illegal Immigrant Slave Labor AND Outsources to Cheap Slave Labor with an INFLATED Petro Dollar. All this part of the Trickle Down Economic Theory, no wonder "they" want everyone to watch Hunger Games !!

    December 4, 2013 at 11:51 pm |
  10. Steve

    I doubt anyone on this forum knows of a single person who contributed something to society when it comes to technological, medical, or humanitarian advancements. The number of people who actually advance a nation are so small they are statistically irrelevant. Therefore, all it takes for a nation to stay on top is a few smart cookies, and America has plenty. Everyone else is a worker and consumer.

    Furthermore, what you do with your education is more important than getting an education. A free, democratic society where people actually get ahead by being cleaver will lead to way more advancements than in a place like China or another repressive country. I've live in a Communist Country and it is shocking how little anyone cared about inventing something or doing work beyond what was required. In a place like American, all sorts of innovations come about, often by people who didn't even go to college or get decent grades in high school. Why? Because they are smart and ambitious and they know they will get some type of reward for their work. What will a billion smart kids in China end up doing? Most will be working to make products for Walmart.

    Thus, I wouldn't lose any sleep over testing scores. All we need is a few geniuses in the free market place to keep America on top. Everyone else can just be a workforce. That's the way it has always been and will always be.

    December 5, 2013 at 12:16 am |
  11. Burbank

    It doesn't take Rocket Science to figure out why we are falling behind.
    1: Deadbeat parents that had no business reproducing in the first place!
    2: When everyone gets a trophy just for showing up, no one grows up!
    3. Shockingly over-coddled, over protected. "You want to get a PhD in Comparative Religions Dear? Then go right ahead (at $40K per year to the folks) I want you to be whatever you want to be." (Whether or not it gets you a job – which is why so many of these millenials are 30 something and still living at home.)

    December 5, 2013 at 12:27 am |
  12. socolaura

    Please tell me when the USA, as a whole, and not just MA and CT, ever score more than median on any international test. We haven't. EVER. Yet we're doing ok, and people still immigrate here.

    December 5, 2013 at 12:41 am |
  13. socolaura

    "The U.S. has NEVER been first in the world, nor even near the top, on international tests. Over the past half century, our students have typically scored at or near the median, or even in the bottom quartile."
    From Diane Ravitch: http://dianeravitch.net/2013/12/03/my-view-of-the-pisa-scores/

    December 5, 2013 at 12:51 am |
  14. flordel

    Money is not the problem. American kids are not less intelligent. It depends on priorities. Asian kids spend more on schoolwork. American kids spend more on video games and on phone and social media. That takes a lot of time. It boils down to discipline. American kids do catching up I college.

    December 5, 2013 at 12:53 am |
  15. deltaecho

    zakaria is a steaming pile of shart. His parents were shart. His kids are shart. He wants us all to live in a bamboo hut in Cambodia. I spent a few days in Cambodia in 1971. Cambodia is shart.

    December 5, 2013 at 1:07 am |
  16. Kings on the back row.....

    ..
    ..American students do not read deeply (study) nor do they read for extended periods of time.
    ..
    ..There are ONLY two ways that humans learn..........you experience it or you READ about it.
    .

    December 5, 2013 at 1:32 am |
  17. cturriag

    Americans are smug, self-righteous and arrogant. Everything about them is great, according to themselves. They love to kiss the mirror. USA is the only country in the world which believes in its own "exceptionalism". Why should you try to be better when you think you are already the best? American arrogance permeates all aspects of its culture: politics (internal and foreign), education, etc. America is narcissitic selfish and self-centered. One thing is ignorance: everybody is ignorant to a great extent; another thing is being proud of one's own ignorance: this is an American characteristic.

    December 5, 2013 at 1:56 am |
    • Realworld

      Yet we have 34 million more immigrants in our country than the next closest, Russia. We also provided close to 50 billion in foreign aid in 2011. Hard to be narcissistic, when the rest of the world can't wait to get here or can't wait to get their hands on the support we provide. I don't feel that we are better than everyone else, but it's hard to argue with facts. I agree that this country coddles it's current generation, but there is no where else I'd rather be.

      December 5, 2013 at 9:21 am |
  18. Mopery

    Too much emphasis on sports, in both secondary schools and college, far too much funding goes to programs that do nothing to educate our children. Some universities actually take money originally meant for scientific research and transfer it to their athletic departments instead. If you want a real education these days you're going to have to do it yourself, some $100000 piece of paper hanging on the wall is now the sign of a conformist fool, not an educated person.

    December 5, 2013 at 3:37 am |
  19. daggash

    Parent, Parent , Parents are the problem.

    December 5, 2013 at 6:56 am |
  20. Ken

    We spend more on education per child than all but four countries. And our students keep falling further behind. So Zakaria's answer (like any good socialist / liberal) is U.S. must spend more on education for poorer children. WRONG! Heck the entire answer is in the article itself and Zakaria completely ignores it.

    "So it’s not just a matter of spending. It is not just a matter of goodwill. It’s not just a matter of how much testing you do or how many students you have in your classroom. It really seems to get at, you know, how have these very small number of countries managed to inject a level of rigor through and through in their system, not just with their teachers, but also with their parents and their students".

    This is the key right here. The parents and the teachers in the US just don't have the will, the rigor, to care enough about the kids to put them on the right path. And the kids see this and slack off themselves, leading to only 3 in 4 students in the US now graduating from high school (despite the increasing complexity of today's world). And a lot of this can be tied directly to allowing teachers to unionize. When you map US student scholastic scores against the percentage of teachers in unions, an amazing pattern appears. As the unionized number increases, the scores (which had been going up) level off, and the start to fall.

    You see, prior to the unions the focus of school was the kids. They were priority number one and came first. If a school administrator thought a teacher wasn't doing a good job, they removed them for failing in mission number 1 ... educating the students. But under a unionized system, priority one for the union is protecting the union members jobs and benefits. Students come second! Just compare the scores between private non-union schools and public schools. Pick some schools with similar funding levels so you can't lie about money being the cause. In every case the non-union school has higher student scores. While our union teachers are running around whining they can't handle the work that class sizes are too large, other countries where the ratio of students to teacher are higher than in the US are doing far better educating the kids. So class size whining is just about the teachers being lazy and not committed to their jobs. While our union teachers are going on strikes demanding bigger pensions and shorter school days wanting more for less effort (as it's so tiring), teachers elsewhere in the world are standing in their classrooms building in their students skills like focus, attention to detail, and a desire to work hard to achieve what they want.

    The answers are all there, right in front of you Zakaria. But you go ahead and whine about needing more money. More money won't help the students when the teachers are what is broken.

    December 5, 2013 at 7:14 am |
    • kls817

      In defense of Zacharia, he didn't suggest we spend more money; only the headline says that, probably put there by some CNN editor who didn't read the story. Zacharia does mention that all of our money spending has done nothing

      December 5, 2013 at 9:44 am |
    • brianjaniczek

      As a teacher, it's not necessarily a lack of caring or rigor on our part. It's a lack of options. If I berate a child for not working hard, I get yelled at by parents and then lectured by my superiors. When my students receive low grades due to a lack of effort, parents demand explanations from me rather than their child. There are certainly slacking teachers, but the options that we have in America aren't adequate to compete globally. It starts in the home, with parenting. With good parenting, education here can work. We need to stop coddling these children.

      December 5, 2013 at 10:02 am |
  21. KieranH

    "The common core is too hard! How is my kid supposed to understand this stuf when I can't??"

    I rest my case. Our society can't seem to handle that their kids are meant to be smarter than they are....

    December 5, 2013 at 7:33 am |
  22. mkelter

    Zakaria, you're full of baloney.

    School Boards in 35 out of 50 states receive the majority of their funding from state and federal sources–not from local taxes. Even in many states–such as Florida, which has the sixth highest level of local funding–the local taxes are co-mingled at the state level and redistibuted to school boards throughout the state based on some sort of formula.

    The problem with education is the lack of discipline in the classroom and in the home. Affluent communities have better education because parents tend to keep a tighter leash on the discipline of their kids AND the administrators of their schools.

    All the socialist re-distribution schemes will not buy you educational discipline.

    December 5, 2013 at 8:04 am |
  23. Roger

    That's always the response to how you get better educated children. More money. Unfortunately we have pumped more money in the educational system in the last 10 years than ever before and the students ratings keep going down. I think that say something for the teaching system itself. We have teacher's unions that don't care about the children as much as they care about their salaries. We have teachers that pass students just to get them out of their classroom. An we have very little accountability in judging what is considered a good or bad teacher because everything is based on tenure which doesn't give teachers much incentive to do good. Pay raises come with them being good or bad. Forget more money. Change the system.

    December 5, 2013 at 8:09 am |
  24. rad666

    America's government is failing America's children.

    So much for "no child left behind" rhetoric.

    December 5, 2013 at 8:40 am |
  25. janetmermaid

    I partially blame the religious right. They want creationism taught as science. They want removal of "critical thinking skills" because it removed dependence on God (yes this happened in Texas). They alter textbooks to eliminate negative views of their ancestors - several southern states are being pushed by their local tea party thugs to remove references to slavery. Climate science is being eliminated. In Texas Algebra II is being eliminated. As long as education can still be controlled or directed by ANY religious group we will have problems keeping up with the more enlightened world.

    December 5, 2013 at 8:41 am |
    • Aaron S

      using your logic, students outside of Texas would be outperforming those Texan kids who have been brainwashed by the religious right. Check the facts, Texas outscored the other "big states" in math and science- Feb 2013 NY times. Although as a Christian I'm quiet frankly embarrassed by what some ill-informed creationist are trying to do in their local school districts, blaming religion is a red herring.

      December 5, 2013 at 9:42 am |
  26. Ike

    Vietnam education is not compulsory after grade 6, and you can't even go to grade 10 and above without passing an exam If you took the bottom 50% that were going to drop out anyways out of the pool in the US at grade 6, then took on the top 50% of the rest and then used just thier scores to comapre to teh rest of the world, you woudl get a much different picture.

    The fact that the US has a goal of compulsory education for ALL up to Grade 12 [or age] is what makes our scores uncomparable to countries where they filter out the low performers long before (A) they take the test, and (b) use up resources that could have been put to better use.

    December 5, 2013 at 8:50 am |
  27. JimfromBham

    One of the problems with our education system is that those people with good school systems are satisfied with their schools and see no need to improve the poorly performing schools. They don't understand the benefit to society that we all would reap if the kids on the bottom became tax paying members of the work force.

    On the flip side, the folks in the poor performing schools resent assistance from the other side, especially if objective performance criteria are attached to the assistance. The people who control the poorly performing schools, however, never acknowledge that they have learned "how not to do it", and few real changes are made without some sort of intervention.

    December 5, 2013 at 8:56 am |
  28. bs99

    No amount of spending will ever improve the educational achievments of the mostly poor students who lack any sort of parental support for their education. Offering or even requiring classes for those parents to help them support and encourage their children's education is the only thing that might work.

    December 5, 2013 at 9:15 am |
  29. rightospeak

    The problem of American education is NOT MONEY, it is content and discipline. The poor education of American children did not happen by accident ,it evolved from liberal policies of moronic educators." I want to be me" and other selfish ideas did bring fruit and you can see it in the last 2 generations. High schools are pumping out millions of young people with no skills to face the world, many illiterate- not much to be proud of. Money will not solve the problem of poor planning, managing.

    December 5, 2013 at 9:16 am |
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