Exodus Out of Tax-Funded Schools in Major Cities
Tea Party Economist
by Gary North: Retirement:
Surely You Jest
Parents are pulling their children out of the government schools.
This is happening across the USA.
In city after
city, enrollment is declining. This is not a recent development.
It has been going on for a half a decade. It has taken place in
half of the nations largest districts.
The trend looks
As the Web
offers better programs free of charge, the public schools cannot
compete. The inner city schools are catastrophic. They are getting
worse. As whites and Asians flee the cities, the inner-city schools
The tax base
shrinks. The teachers union demands more pay and smaller classes.
The city governments are trapped. Solution: cut programs, fire teachers,
and enlarge classes back to (horror!) 1959?s 33 students.
Nobody is supposed
to talk about this. It is time to talk about it. Public education
will not recover. The longer the decline takes place, the more parents
will conclude that there is only one solution: pull their kids out.
At some point,
voters will not pass any more bond issues. They will not consent
to higher property taxes. They will let the public schools sink.
The only established
church in the USA will find fewer members. The only kids will be
those whose parents do not have the money to pull them out.
York Times reports: Urban districts like Philadelphia
and Columbus, Ohio, are facing an exodus even as the school-age
population has increased.
has begun. Let my people go!
is on a per-pupil basis. This dooms districts whose student enrollment
be fired. Courses like art, music, dance, and other classes that
will not get an inner-city kid a job will be cut.
of charter schools has accelerated some enrollment declines. The
number of students fell about 5 percent in traditional public
school districts between 2005 and 2010; by comparison, the number
of students in all-charter districts soared by close to 60 percent,
according to the Department of Education data. Thousands of students
have moved into charter schools in districts with both traditional
public and charter schools.
the total number of students in charter schools is just 5 percent
of all public school children, it has had a striking effect in
some cities. In Columbus, Ohio, for example, enrollment in city
schools declined by more than 10 percent or about 6,150
students between 2005 and 2010, even as charter schools
gained close to 9,000 students.
are not under the thumb of school boards, politicians, and the teachers
The old model
for schools is dying.
In Los Angeles,
the district has dismissed more than 8,500 teachers and other
education workers in the last four years as enrollment fell by
about 56,000 students. The Mesa Unified District, which lost 7,155
students between 2005 and 2010, has closed four middle schools
in the last three years, delayed new textbook purchases, and laid
left behind in some of these large districts are increasingly
children with disabilities, in poverty or learning English as
a second language.
have little political clout. They do not pay taxes. They rent. They
are on welfare.
money will no longer pay for these schools. The districts will have
to find ways to get into wallets in the suburbs. That will not be
easy. Judges will be the tools of this wealth redistribution.
alarm those who worry about the increasing inequity in schools.
I see greater stratification and greater segregation,
said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of
got it, Randy. And your union is doomed. Your members will not get
pay raises, smaller classes, and retirement benefits. Cities will
declare bankruptcy and thereby escape these huge obligations.
are concerned that a vicious cycle will set in. Some of the largest
public school systems in the country are in danger of becoming
the schools that nobody wants, said Jeffrey Mirel,
an education historian at the University of Michigan.
got it, Jeff. Nobody wants these schools. They have failed. The
era of public education is going the way of all flesh.
Who needs public
schools when there is the Khan Academy?
Arbogast, acting deputy superintendent for academics in Prince
Georges County, said he recognized the challenge of persuading
families to send their children to public schools.
simply have to get better and provide an education that people
of all social classes would be proud of, said Mr. Arbogast,
who cited a new health sciences academy and a planned performing
arts high school in his district.
you cant provide decent education, Duane. Education is not
about new buildings. Its about vision, self-discipline, future-orientation,
and a curriculum that is held together by a deeply religious view.
The public schools used to have such a view: the messianic transformation
of mankind through public education. No one believes it any more.
The money is running out.
Mesa district closed Brimhall Junior High School this year, the
school lost teachers in art, music and technology in part because
of a declining student head count. That made it harder for the
school, which faces competition from many charter schools, to
has gotten to be almost a sales job, said Susan Chard, who
taught seventh grade math at Brimhall for 18 years. You
want to provide reasons for parents to bring their children to
You do, indeed.
Brimhall Junior High could not come up with enough of them.
Many more Brihalls
Reading this relevant article on www.nytimes.com
North [send him mail]
is the author of Mises
on Money. Visit http://www.garynorth.com.
He is also the author of a free 20-volume series, An
Economic Commentary on the Bible.
2012 Gary North
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