Saturday, February 21, 2009

Classrooms in Crisis: We Need Less Administrative Costs in County Offices and More Effective Administrators in Our Schools

While doing research about the percentage of a school systems budget I ran across several articles in newspapers in Florida, which indicated what school systems in the state spent less money on administrative costs per student than any other school systems in the state. This was an indication to me that maybe the legislative branch of government in Georgia needs to require that this type of information is public knowledge, so that the taxpayers know what is being spent on administrative costs that meet the students daily. Maybe we need a school board in DeKalb County who also will investigate the amount of money in personnel, which actually have direct contact with the students daily.

As many of you know, Kim and I did some data analysis. I actually helped Kim decide what job titles in the school systems have direct contact with our students every day and which job titles have no direct contact with our school children. When Kim ran the data, we found that DeKalb County School System is spending about 24.9% of its personnel budget on personnel that have no direct contact with our students on a daily basis. Gwinnett County Schools, Fulton County Schools, and Decatur County Schools were spending about 10-11% of their budget on the same type job titles.

Lower costs for administration and other personnel that has no direct contact daily with our children in the DeKalb County School System would mean more money for instruction. More money for instructions would definitely help with providing extra types of experiences with different types of modalities of instruction, which would improve learning. For instance, it would be very helpful if every classroom in the DeKalb County School System was equipped with a Smart board. It would be beneficial for science students in DeKalb County to have more science supplies to experience many science experiments, instead of just learn science facts from a book. Applying science is totally a different concept than just learning science facts.

Our school classrooms are in crisis across the county currently due to our tests scores and due to new accountability from NCLB. We do not need “top heavy administrative jobs,” at the county office. Spending money on these “extra high paid jobs” has not shown improvement in our test scores. Our schools need high quality Assistant Principals and Principals to be visible in the classrooms at their schools daily. We need county administrators and principals who are among the best for channeling financial resources to classrooms and instructional initiatives that will make a difference in the educational, emotional, and physical needs of our children. We need administrators who are in classrooms everyday evaluating why some schools are not meeting basic standards under NCLB. We need administrators giving our teachers the support that they need to do what they do best which is teaching. We need administrators who can see that the block schedule apparently is not providing results and make changes to provide the results needed to make DeKalb County Schools the premier school system we all as DeKalb County citizens desire.


Anonymous said...

Very good post.

Cerebration said...

Great idea. Have a law that requires school systems to publish annual reports explaining their spending - especially administrative costs. Large charities have to do this or their donations suffer - so why not a school system?

The county should do the same. Our county employs far more people than surrounding counties yet provide the same services.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Ella. Let's get rid of the block schedule this year. It is awful for math, foreign lanugages and all AP courses. I have not met an "effective" high school teacher who thinks this is good for the school system.

Sure the students love it because many teachers never teach the full block and let the students do all their homework in class.

Ella Smith said...

It is very difficult to get the entire curriculum into a block schedule. Also test scores do not show that the block schedule is more effective than the traditional day. Most school systems have went away from block schedule because of money. Block schedule is much more expensive and does not give results that a traditional schedule does.