Alan Bonsteel, M.D. - Contributor
[Courtesty of California
Parents for Educational Choice]
Bonsteel, M.D., is president of California Parents for Educational
Choice. The organization's Web site is www.cpeconline.org.
[go to Bonsteel index]
Stats Not Only Phony Ones
Ignore the propaganda: Per-student state education funding
at all-time high…
[Alan Bonsteel, M.D] 6/10/05
In April, the Harvard Integration Project blasted the California
Department of Education's falsification of our high school graduation
rates, a report that was on the front pages of almost all of
our largest daily newspapers.
This information, however, was not news. Our group, California
Parents for Educational Choice, pointed out these falsehoods
in 1999. In 2002, the Manhattan Institute picked up the drumbeat.
And in 2004, Education Trust West slammed the phony dropout rates.
In 1998, when we did the original research, we worked from printouts
from mainframe computers. Now anyone can pull the ninth-grade
enrollment and 12th-grade graduation numbers off the Internet
and see that the CDE is lying. What got all the publicity was
not any original research but rather the Harvard name.
Earlier this month, the Schwarzenegger administration released
its proposed budget for the next fiscal year. The California
Department of Education quickly put its spin on the proposal,
which was dutifully reported in many of the state's newspapers.
CDE claimed the proposed budget would give each California K-12
student only $7,402 per year.
Just as any 8-year-old who can log onto the Internet can work
out correct graduation rates, so can even elementary school kids
figure out that these per-student spending numbers are phony.
The state's K-12 public schools receive $61.5 billion from all
sources each year to educate 6.32 million students. That right
there works out to nearly $10,000 per student.
Back out from those numbers the part-time adult education students,
who are of course funded at far lower rates than full-time students,
and we get the correct current figure of $10,201 per student
-- half again what our charter schools get, and nearly twice
the per-student funding of private schools.
The lies don't end there. The California Teachers Association
is spending millions of dollars on television ads to claim that
Gov. Schwarzenegger is cutting back on public school spending,
when in fact his proposed budget increases public school spending
by $2.5 billion.
Further, the CTA continues to claim that 1978's
Proposition 13 resulted in "cutbacks" in K-12 educational
spending. In fact, if Schwarzenegger's budget is passed, it
will mean a
total increase in per-student K-12 spending in California of
nearly 50 percent in constant, inflation-adjusted dollars since
the passage of Prop. 13. Those same Internet- savvy 8-year-olds
can verify this on the Web sites of the state Legislative Analyst's
Office or the federal National Center for Educational Statistics.
And we don't need the Internet to know that during the last 20
years, the quality of California's public schools has plummeted
despite the vast increases in spending.
With the lies that blatant, why aren't they being reported in
The public school monopoly is one of the most
pervasive and powerful monopolies of our time, much more so
Octopus" of the railroad monopolies of the late 19th century
that once dominated our government. Our government-run K-12 schools
supply one job in 30 in the United States, and one family in
four has a close relative or family friend employed by public
Equally importantly, education writers of daily newspapers are
often former public school teachers, and they stubbornly cling
to the myth that public school funding has dropped and is now
low, when in fact it has steadily increased throughout the nation
and is now at record or near-record levels in all 50 states.
The reality is there for anyone who can log on to the Internet.
Will we start seeing it soon in the newspapers -- or will it
take the Harvard name to drive home the truth to the California
opinion piece first appeared in the Orange County Register
2005 California Parents for Educational Choice