Ciboski: Will More Money 'Fix' Education?

May 16, 2018

The Kansas Supreme Court is expected to rule soon on whether or not the legislature’s decision to provide $500 million for K-12 schools over the next five years meets the test of adequate and equitable funding. Also, the legislature has not yet devised a formula for guiding the funding of schools for future years. I remain skeptical that the infusion of more money will “fix” the problem of large numbers of students not performing well academically.

Remember that Norway and the United States have some of the highest levels of spending on education in the world, but their student academic results are low in comparison with many other countries.  

If major structural and procedural changes are not made then we can expect the continuation of large numbers of students not performing well and the court mandating more money for K-12 schools. We need to have a “blue ribbon” committee established to make recommendations regarding such changes. One structural change that the state could make that would yield educational dividends would be the introduction of free and universal pre-schools. This would prepare students for entrance into kindergarten or first grade and provide for the beginnings of a foundation for educational achievement for all students.

Some students have told me that in their high school graduating class in Wichita there were students who could not read the words on a page. This is disgraceful and inexcusable. Students should be taught not only to read but also how to think critically about what they read. As the English philosopher and scientist Francis Bacon said: Reading maketh the full man, writing maketh the exact man, and speaking maketh the ready man.

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