The state, under a court order, has poured billions of dollars into the city’s schools, so that Newark now spends nearly $17,000 per pupil a year—about 75 percent more than the national average.
Yet the money has done little good, since the state has pursued few educational innovations and hasn’t taken on entrenched educational interests (above all, the teachers’ union), which still control much of the system. Student performance has continued to plummet. “High school achievement rates have virtually flipped, from almost 70 percent of graduating Newark kids passing the state’s high school proficiency exam when the state took over, to only about 30 percent passing it now,” says Richard Cammarieri, a member of the Newark schools advisory board. E3 executive director Dan Gaby bluntly describes the system as “in crisis,” estimating that it spends an astonishing $1.3 million for every qualified student it manages to graduate from high school.
– from “Cory Booker’s Battle for Newark,” by Steven Malanga in City Journal
$1.3 million for a high school graduate. Ah, Jersey.
Things like this both make me want to teach and make me super scared of teaching. Imagine how entrenched the bureaucracy is and how much it has to fight and destroy those who genuinely want to do good in order to get a figure that inflated.
Don’t get me wrong, there are a ton of other problems in Newark that would require that the amount spent on students is exorbitant. And I know full well I’m not a patient teacher – I’m probably the moodiest, most abusive tutor one could ever get, and I’m not real sympathetic with people I don’t want in my classes.
Still. I just hope some kid from Newark starts reading this site and asking me questions, and we can compare the amount of money he spends talking to me and learning about poetry with the amount his English class presently might cost.
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