Thursday, January 6, 2011

Myron Miner on how to stretch your school dollar

Let's face it, the economy is not doing particularly well.   Public worker unions have driven the economy off a steep cliff and school districts find themselves struggling to find the money to make meaningful reform and to adequately compensate the reformers who offer so much to their students.  There is no reason for panic, however, like families across this great country, it's simply time to tighten your belt.

Any education reformer will tell you that the best teachers are young and fresh out of school.  They may not have a lot of experience or training, but they make up for it with youthful enthusiasm.  Who has more enthusiasm then your own 8th graders?  Who is younger and fresher?

By having your 8th grade students teach the younger grades, the small children are given a teacher that they can relate to better because they are closer in age.  Even a dull-witted 8th grader should be capable of doing 2nd or 3rd grade work and best of all, they'll do it for a grade instead of a paycheck.

Become very familiar with the fire code in your district.   Many states will tolerate far more overcrowding than exists in the average classroom.  If the fire department will allow you to put 100 students in a room, you can fire 2/3 of your staff.  Once more, by keeping only the top third of your teachers, you can guarantee that every student in your school gets a quality teacher.

Finally, teachers and office staff need to call students' homes frequently.   Maybe Johnny wasn't in school today or Sally's grade in math has been dropping.   Why not use this as a money maker by hiring out to a telemarketing company.   "Mrs. Anderson I want to talk to you about Sally's math grade and your aluminum siding."

I've just scratched the surface of budget tightening.   Even something as simple as a pay toilet in the teacher lounge can be a real money maker.   For more suggestions check out the Fordham Institute.

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