As many schools continue to receive poor ratings, parents and other school advocates demand that more funding be allocated for public schools. Will more money really make a difference in school success? Some research concludes that money may not be as big a factor in how well schools perform as was once believed. However, money may offer positive benefits in terms of school resources and supplies, teacher support and training, and attracting better qualified faculty.
Attracting Better Teachers
Classroom teachers are taking advantage of higher education, and many have gone on to earn master's and doctorate degrees in education. Unfortunately, high-quality teachers often choose to leave the classroom to pursue careers with better pay and higher social status. Many seek opportunities in school administration, business or higher education. Moreover, low teacher pay makes if difficult for struggling school districts to recruit and retain good teachers. According to the North Carolina Policy Watch, districts need to improve teacher compensation in order to attract better faculty. In addition to receiving low pay, most teachers end up spending personal income for school materials and supplies.
There is no doubt that good teachers understand the curriculum and use effective strategies to impart knowledge to students. Money does not affect that ability. However, money can indirectly enhance student learning by making it possible to purchase resources that enrich and support learning experiences, such as classroom computers. Research has demonstrated that computers in the classroom increase reading comprehension and writing skills. Money can also be used to hire teacher assistants and specialists making it possible for struggling students to receive one-to-one tutoring, which increases learning outcomes.
One of the best ways to make schools better is to get parents involved. When parents are involved with schools, children are more likely to succeed regardless of parental income levels. Research indicates that parental involvement leads to better attendance, better behavior and improved academic outcomes. Parents reinforce the importance and value of education to their children by being involved in schools and showing an interest in school-related activities. Parents can get involved in their child's school by volunteering to help in the classroom or to attend field trips. Parents of older children could get involved by staying informed of school policies and curriculum and signing up to receive school newsletters by email.
Money Has Limits
More school funding will not be able to repair all the problems that plague public schools. When incompetent adminstrators and unqualified teachers remain in schools due to union regulations, more funding will not make a difference -- leaving children caught in the crossfire. More accountability is needed for school admininistrators and classroom teachers. Yet, in most states teachers receive lifetime tenure after working a few years in the profession.
- NC Policy Watch: To attract better teachers, improve compensation
- Education.com: What is the Impact of Technology on Learning?
- Education.com: Involved Parents The Hidden Resource in Their Child's Education
- Healthy Children: How to Get Involved With Your Child's School
- Great Schools: How to stay involved in middle and high school
- Newsweek: Why We Must Fire Bad Teachers
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