By Jamie Gumbrecht, CNN
(CNN) - Public school systems spent an average of $10,615 per student in the 2010 fiscal year, an increase of 1.1% from the previous year, according to Public Education Finances: 2010, a U.S. Census Bureau report released today.
Washington, D.C., schools topped per-pupil spending at $18,667; Utah was lowest, at $6,064. Public schools systems spent $602.6 billion in 2010, a 0.4% decrease since 2009 - the first time the spending level has gone down since the Census Bureau began to keep track.
Although the amount spent per student has steadily crept up in recent decades, it can vary widely based on cost of living and operating. Of the 50 largest school systems, New York City School District spent the most per student in 2010 at $19,597.
Make no mistake: Spending a lot of money doesn't mean a kid is getting a good education, and spending less doesn't mean it's bad. Per-pupil spending comes up often because it's among the few easy-to-compare measurements that crosses school, district and state lines, said Matthew Chingos, a researcher with Brookings Institution's Brown Center on Education Policy.
“Per-pupil funding is a pretty terrible measure of quality of education,” Chingos said. “In some case, it matters, but sometimes it’s hard to find evidence it matters.”
What would you do if you learned your kid was a bully?
In Greece, New York, parents of middle school students who taunted a 68-year-old bus monitor saw it happen on a video that went viral; it captured students hurling insults, threats of physical and sexual assault at Karen Klein. One comment she couldn't ignore referenced Klein’s son, who committed suicide a decade ago.
Police and the school district where the incident took place are publicly grappling with how best to discipline the students involved. Meanwhile, the CNN community has weighed in on Facebook and on CNN.com about what they would do if their own kids were the culprits in such an intense case of cruelty.
Some commenters on CNN.com felt students’ threats rose to the level of harassment and police action should be taken. Some comments are edited for clarity.
antoinette18 One kid actually said that if he would stick a KNIFE in her, it would be like cutting through butter. That is a THREAT. It went beyond teasing to actually touching her, threatening her with bodily injury through a weapon and sexual assault. They should all be charged as adults. Their parents should be responsible. They are raising animals. And the parents should be forced to take parenting classes and boot camp.
Colorista The harassment and threats should be punished legally. In addition, that big chunk of community service is warranted but I would add that there is a "supervisory clause" and that a parent must be present and participate in all of the hours with their little darlings. Since it is the end of the school year, they should be banned from riding the bus for the first month of school in the fall. Failure to attend/get to school in that time frame means more service hours for mom/dad/miscreant. I am all for a parental boot camp.
By Keiona Johnson, CNN
“Here’s the issue we have with education in our country. Educators go to college for four years, get a degree and they sit in a classroom and teach for 30 years. Rarely do they ever get out and see what’s going on in other peoples classrooms and so, we're just creating this cycle where we're not having anything new. There’s no growth, no development. So what we do at the academy is we let people come and see excellence… If you don’t see excellence, you don’t know how to get there.” – Ron Clark
(CNN) - Recently, CNN got an exclusive look into Ron Clark Academy’s world-renowned educator training program in Atlanta. On that day, nearly 120 teachers traveled from near and far to experience what one educator described as a “spiritual awakening.”
Created in 2007, the academy is a school and dedicated educator training facility that has welcomed nearly 15,000 educators from around the world. The one and two day sessions are filled with excitement – from bungee jumping in the morning to dancing and sliding in the afternoon. There’s also lots of walking on desks, beating of the drums, poetry and rapping! Participation is often required for those in attendance, as they learn how to incorporate music into the classroom, implement games to help promote student engagement and other creative learning techniques that steer them away from “teaching to the test.”
By Gary Huggins, Special to CNN
Editor’s note: Thursday is Summer Learning Day. Gary Huggins is CEO of the National Summer Learning Association, a national nonprofit organization based in Baltimore that connects and equips schools, providers, communities and families to deliver high-quality summer learning opportunities to our nation’s youth to help close the achievement gap and support healthy development.
There’s a flaw in our summer equation.
Summer break is a treasured American tradition that arose from the need for children to work on farms during the warm-weather months. But while summer is a special time of year, it’s turning into a missed opportunity, at a huge cost.
It seems that for many, summer vacation has now come to equal not just a break from school, but a break from any kind of learning. Summer means freedom for schoolchildren to do absolutely nothing, for three long months.
There is nothing wrong with taking breaks. Everyone needs them. Time off from the regular school routine and curriculum allows students and teachers to recharge their batteries and do things differently.
But we collectively pay a steep bill for our prolonged break from learning. Research shows students typically score lower on standardized tests at the end of the summer than they do at the beginning. Most students lose two months’ worth of math skills each summer, and low-income children lose another two to three months in reading, putting them chronically behind their better-off peers. That’s an incredible waste of the resources we pour into the school year.
Here’s the real flaw in the equation. Our attitude toward summer tells young people that summer is for fun and not learning. Therefore, what we’re really telling them is that learning is the opposite of fun.