65% In the Classroom

The GOP intends to propose that 65% of all money allocated toward education be spent in the classroom. This proposal is going to stir up a lot of controversy. One of the more controversial aspects, it appears, is that the idea came from the CEO of Overstock.com, Inc., who is also a committed opponent of teachers’ unions.

Let me add something else to this. My sister-in-law, a teacher, was telling me (assuming I understood her right), that if a child goes through state supported pre-school, when the child turns four they cannot be turned away from the school house door — which causes all sorts of disruptions in planning lessons, etc. That, to me, sounds like an absolutely awful idea.


  1. HeartofGa says:

    I have lots of questions on this issue. First of all, it is interesting that the state is telling already cash-strapped districts how to divide the money the state doesn’t provide to implement the initiatives the state requires, but does not fund. This proposal may make a good sound bite for Sonny, but since he’s the governor who cut education funding so deeply that he cut the here-to-fore sacred “instructional dollars”, you can bet dems- and teachers who are not dems- are going to call him on this one.

    I am all for focusing money on instruction, but the 65% number seems random.

    On the four-year-old issue, I am not sure I understand what you are saying. Do you mean that if a child attends a state-funded 4K program they cannot be turned away, or that if they attend state-funded preschool they can’t be turned away from state-funded 4K? If it’s the latter, then that might make sense. If a child is in a state-funded daycare (0-4), then that implies that they live at or near the poverty line. Poverty is a key risk-factor for school failure, and early intervention (like 4K) is one of the things that helps to balance that equation, so it would make sense to prioritize the admission of those children to state-funded 4K programs.

    By the way, are teachers able to spend the $100 a vote, I mean, $100 gift cards at Overstock? !0 million for this gimmick, and he still does not fully fund the K-12 formula.

  2. Remember the collective blowjob the media gave Perdue when he announced his “$1 Billion of New Education Funding” that turned out just to be the state mandated adjustment to the QBE formula (more children enrolled = more money regardless of who is governor).

    Anyway, the AJC had a pie chart where they talked about his “new” money and less than 65% of it was going to classroom spending! I don’t know about this proposal, maybe it is a good idea but probably not, as Sonny is not exactly known for sweeping changes that are a good idea. But I just don’t know how you can tell a school system a number like this and expect it to fix anything.

    I bet there are good school systems that only spend 60% of their money in the classroom (maybe because they are growing systems that have to spend money on construction and expansion) and I bet there are awful systems that spend 70% on classroom spending. And under this law, which school system is penalized?

    I understand that Sonny is under a lot of pressure from Republicans to respond to every issue by saying government already spends enough money on this problem, lets clean up the waste, fire the beaurocrats, etc etc etc. But even from that perspective this is a stupid way to do it.

    Here is my biggest concern: I live in DeKalb, but replace your county here. They will do an audit and find out that they only spend 62% in classrooms. So instead of cutting money elsewhere, they will just raise taxes by enough to spend some extra dollars to get to 65%. And the quality of education will not change, the only thing that will is my taxes will go up. And I hope we remember whose fault that is come election day.

  3. HeartofGa says:

    I read the article about the “nonprofit” that hatched this idea. It seems that in addition to the connection with Overstock.com, the co-founder of this organization, “First Class Education” is the author of a memo touting this as an issue for the GOP to push in ’06 and point by point explaining how this can help republicans get elected by “splitting the union” and “pitting teachers against administrator”, opening the door to discussion of vouchers and charter schools and providing a vehicle for “unlimited personal contributions” through the “nonprofit” to promote this concept. Wow. I’m no expert, but this politically driven message oriented activity sounds like a 527, not a non-profit.

    This is a shameful political ploy that completely undercuts Local Control.

  4. kspencer says:

    There is, from my readings, one significant problem with the “65 rule”.

    It’s an attempt to fix a complex problem with a bandaid.

    There are a LOT of federal- and state-mandated programs and procedures and requirements out there that do not count as “classroom” spending. Failure to follow and complete most result in at best loss of money and at worst loss of certification and employment. So ordering a budget split that way means that somebody has to do these things ‘for free’. Those of you who know teachers should ask them how many hours a week they put into the job – not just teaching the class but writing the lesson plan and attending the mandatory meetings and mandatory sponsorships and grading the papers and… Generally, experienced teachers can keep it under 60 hours a week by drawing on things done previous years. Sorry – I’ll stop that rant. Bottom line, you’ve got a mandated one-size-fits-all fix to a problem which has little relation to the fix.

  5. EducationMan says:

    Perhaps the article at this link will be helpful:


    (Or go to http://www.gppf.org and scroll down to “Spending in Classroom Benefits Student Achievement.”

    Further, Essentially, one-third of systems met the standard as of 2003 and another one-third were close. Sonny’s new money for education is overwhelmingly targeted to the classroom and will push many systems above 65%.

    Where were these Dems when Governor Perdue was pushing for local flexibility with accountability the last 3 years? They were arguing that school systems were corrupt, wasteful, and incompetent. Three years ago, they voted against his accountability with flexibility legislation—before voting for a watered-down version of it. His “flexibility

  6. Eddie T says:

    Educationman, can you show your work? Where are you getting the data showing that 1/3 of Georgia school systems are over 65%?

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