Zaleski: Schools Could use a Makeover

Rob Zaleski:

Among its many features:
Twelve students per class, each equipped with their own laptop computer.
Classes meet not in huge buildings but in small rented sites scattered throughout the area. “The idea of sending 400 – or 1,400 – kids to a central site, as we have now, is madness,” Parish told me back in ’92. “Especially in today’s society, where there are social behaviors that nobody really wants.” …..
You don’t improve schools by chopping their funding, he says. But he does think the money that schools receive could be better spent.
There’s no denying, for instance, that the Madison School District is top-heavy with administrators, he says, or that the schools themselves are run in an extremely inefficient manner.

I find this thinking interesting. We do need to take a look at the process, costs & benefits. Zaleski is incorrect about an “assault on their budgets”. Madison school spending has grown over the past 10 years from roughly 194M to 317M in annual spending (and will, according to Roger Price’s recent budget presentation, increase 10M in 2005/2006). One can argue about where the money goes, or that more should be spent, but we do indeed spend a great deal on public education (Madison spends 12.9K per student while the national average is 7,734).