Billions Are Being Spent on Teachers Who Won’t Teach: President Trump Can Change That

By Daniel Greenfield, FPM  03 Aug 2020

The Los Angeles Unified School District spends $18,788 per student. Its goal is to up that spending to $20,000. The mammoth LA school district is 7th in urban spending and has around half a million students. And the costs only went up after a United Teachers strike extracted a 6 percent raise.

Last year, LAUSD approved a $7.8 billion budget.

Governor Newsom demanded federal aid during the coronavirus and proposed moving over $4 billion in federal pandemic relief to the non-functioning schools.

“Cuts to funding at schools will forever impact the lives of children,” Superintendent Austin Beutner warned. “The harm children are facing is just as real a threat to them as is the coronavirus.”

Apparently cutting the budgets of closed schools is just as lethal as a pandemic.

“The notion that schools can continue to operate safely in the fall with a decreased state budget is not realistic,” deputy superintendent Megan Reilly complained after a proposed 7% budget cut.

The schools are aren’t opening in the fall. Instead, LAUSD is staying closed. But it has piled up $200 million in “emergency coronavirus costs” from handing out free computers and internet.

What are those billion-dollar budgets buying now?

The Zoom classes managed to have only two-thirds of students logging in on any given school day. 40,000 high school students were not participating after school closures. That’s not surprising because the teachers’ union had reached an agreement that would avoid any pay cuts, would allow teachers to set their own schedules, free them from video lectures, and require them to work only 4 hours a day.

Meanwhile millions are being spent on protective equipment, not because LAUSD schools are teaching students, but because they’re open only to illegally use federal funds to serve food to the homeless.

And the situation at LAUSD is typical of the broken Democrat school model across the country.

It’s bad enough when taxpayers and parents were stuck with billion-dollar bills when there were at least functioning schools. Now struggling families are paying a fortune to subsidize Democrat activists who make their own schedules and might condescend to spend a few hours handing out class projects.

Don’t ask them to turn on their video or actually monitor the students they’re “teaching”.

“If schools aren’t going to reopen, we’re not suggesting pulling funding from education, but instead allowing families … take that money and figure out where their kids can get educated if their schools are going to refuse to open,” Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos suggested.

That suggestion has been met with howls of outrage from the teachers’ unions. How dare the country’s top education official suggest that education funding should be used to teach children.

Under the current regime of pandemic closures, the entire system of school districts makes no sense.

If students are going to be taught online, then their geographic location only matters when they hit a time zone change. The massive burden of property taxes on local homeowners that has been used to fund the public education system through sweetheart deals with union activists has no reason to exist.

Those contracts were for teachers who showed up in classrooms to teach students. Democrat activists have negotiated with Democrat politicians to pay them a fortune to only occasionally teach online.

That’s not a good deal for anyone except the unions and the Democrat officials they’ve bought off.

Secretary of Education DeVos is correct. Education funding is meant to fund education, not homeless soup kitchens, which LAUSD considers more essential than functioning classrooms. That money doesn’t belong to unions or political bosses. It was extracted from taxpayers through a broken promise.

Parents have the right to pull that money from school districts and use it to educate their children.

That can mean finding private schools that are willing to open up for in-person learning, it can mean competitive distance learning at private and public schools around the country, or it can mean homeschooling through pods. Or any learning that meets curriculum requirements.

The public education system was broken badly before. Now it effectively doesn’t exist.

The system, at every level from elementary through college, has shed what few standards it had, while maintaining ridiculously inflated expenses of tens of thousands per student for teaching zoom classes.

Competitive alternatives could easily offer individual students more instruction time, more access to teachers, and more personalized instruction for a fraction of the money that is being spent today.

School districts react hysterically to both budget cuts and proposals to reopen. But they can’t have it both ways. They protest that the infrastructure must be maintained, even as they insist that they have no idea when they’re going to be able to use it again. They argue that, unlike every other profession, it’s vital to keep teachers employed, even when they’re really not doing anything useful.

While so many people who want to work are losing their jobs, why should some government employees who won’t do their jobs be immune from economic realities because of their political power?

The answer is political corruption.

Municipal unions have gotten away with murder because they’ve had their fingers on a vital service. Mess with them and they can turn out the lights, stay home when the fires break out, or force you to keep your kids entertained at home. Pandemic closures have entirely neutered that last threat.

The pandemic emergency has created an education emergency. And the public school system is unable and unwilling to meet that crisis because of its cronyism, corruption, and general incompetence.

President Trump has the opportunity to help parents meet that education emergency by taking executive actions that will empower private schools, homeschoolers, and the more functional elements of the public school system to step forward and competitively meet the needs of students and parents.

The public health emergency has created an education emergency that President Trump can solve.

If a public health emergency can be used to confine millions of people in their homes, to close countless businesses, to suspend the Bill of Rights, and even to ban husbands and wives from sharing a bed, it can certainly be used to redirect education funding from systems that aren’t teaching to those that are.

It’s either that or go on giving billions to broken districts like LAUSD where the teachers might show up for 4 hours of work and some of their students might occasionally tune in to do the work.

In the old public school system, teachers pretended to teach and students pretended to learn. Now no one is pretending anymore. The teachers aren’t teaching and the students aren’t learning. The big expensive buildings are standing empty, the school supplies are going unused, and the endless layers of administration serve no function except to draw six figure salaries. It’s time to end the charade.

The billion-dollar boondoggles were not created to maintain themselves which is all they’re doing now.

America’s students deserve better. So do the taxpayers who have funded this mess. The public education system has shut itself down. It’s time to build a new flexible system that can handle the stresses of the pandemic and deliver results without holding students and parents hostage to unions.

President Trump can take the first step by breaking parents and students free of broken districts and shuttered schools by putting federal education funds at the disposal of parents during this emergency. Voucher programs have already been successfully implemented in many states, especially in districts with underperforming schools, and a pandemic voucher program would offer flexibility and results.

Parents would be able to enroll their children in the distance or in-person learning options that work for their families. A competitive educational environment would adapt to the challenges much more readily and provide better value for students. And the failing public school system would have an incentive to improve. The alternative is wasting billions on schools and teachers who refuse to teach their students.

August 3, 2020 | 6 Comments » | 476 views

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6 Comments / 6 Comments

  1. FUND THE STUDIES: a teacher – a school – should be paid DIRECTLY by those who choose to use their services. The government should support those who educate their children. The governemnt should support those who find the cost of schooling hard for them, and give full tax rebate to those who do not need support. The government should support research that the citizens of the USA have reason to support – not social philosophers = socialist and communist or anarchist “intellectuals” – who cannot even learn from history.

  2. @ yeshol:
    That goes for colleges as well. The amount of money spent on paying radical professors should be deducted from federal aid to the school as well as to students who take their classes. Those credits should not be paid for.

  3. In Europe they are back to school! Perhaps there is something “genetically wrong” with US teachers!
    More $ to school choice by ALL MEANS.
    If $ must be diverted from “the police”, give it to school choice/parents!
    Nothing better than fair competition!
    Criteria should be developed requiring that funding to teaching entities from grammar to colleges respect equal philosophical representation, not just left and far left!

  4. Like in many other aspects of life (Res Publica), the right is not taking its responsibilities seriously. That is why so much corruption is existing in the “administrative state”! It all started in the early 90ties!

  5. The lockdowns, worldwide, are having even more disasterous results than money spent on non-workers. This from the Washington Examiner:

    “Coronavirus lockdowns could lead to 6.3M tuberculosis cases and 1.4M deaths worldwide: Study

    Lockdown measures due to the coronavirus could set health officials around the world back in their fight against tuberculosis.

    “A three-month lockdown across different parts of the world and a gradual return to normal over 10 months could result in an additional 6.3 million cases of tuberculosis and 1.4 million deaths from it,” the New York Times reported Monday about one modeling analysis from the Stop TB Partnership. That is the estimate for 2020 to 2025.

    Tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV cases have been on the decline in recent years, but due to the coronavirus, the three diseases are “making a comeback.” Countries such as Indonesia, South Africa, and Mozambique have reported significant declines in diagnosing tuberculosis, to the tune of up to a 70% drop.

    “Covid-19 risks derailing all our efforts and taking us back to where we were 20 years ago,” Dr. Pedro Alonso, the director of the World Health Organization’s global malaria program, told the outlet.

    Shoppers plan to skip brick-and-mortar stores as holiday spending season looms
    One doctor in Mexico said health clinics aren’t testing for tuberculosis due to focus on the coronavirus.

    “Nobody is testing for TB at any facility,” Dr. Giorgio Franyuti said. “The mind of clinicians in Mexico, as well as decision makers, is stuck with Covid-19.”

    “TB is the biggest monster of them all. If we’re talking about deaths and pandemics, 10 million cases a year,” he added.

    Lockdowns and fear over the coronavirus have prevented patients with tuberculosis, malaria, or HIV from visiting medical professionals, and restrictions on traveling prevented medications to reach destinations where patients require the drugs.

    “About 80 percent of tuberculosis, H.I.V. and malaria programs worldwide have reported disruptions in services, and one in four people living with H.I.V. have reported problems with gaining access to medications, according to U.N. AIDS. Interruptions or delays in treatment may lead to drug resistance, already a formidable problem in many countries,” the outlet reported.

    The disruption to receiving HIV treatment could lead to an additional 500,000 deaths, according to the World Health Organization, and a worst-case scenario for malaria-related deaths could reach 770,000.

    “The more you leave undiagnosed and untreated, the more you will have next year and the year after,” Dr. Lucica Ditiu, of the Stop TB Partnership, said.

    There have so far been nearly 700,000 deaths linked to the coronavirus across the world and 18 million confirmed COVID-19 cases.”

    Not only have the lockdowns failed completely to halt the spread of coronavirus, but they have caused or will cause at least 1,500,000 deaths from other disieases that doctors have stopped testing for and treating. What an outrageous abuse of medicine!

  6. There is another, even worse and more outrageous case of the U.S. government paying vast amounts of money on non-working “professionals.” The U.S. government is paying all doctors, nurses and other “health professionals” the same amount of money they earned in 2019, as indicated on their tax returns, whether they work in 2020 or not. In other words, in the midst of an alleged pandemic, which one would assume the government would demand “all hands on deck” from health professionals, the government is paying them not to work. I learned of this outrage from an excellent article in Reuters several months ago, in May, I think.

    I wish I had informed Israpundit readers and others about this outrage when I first learned of it, but somehow I neglected to do so.

    The Congress included this pay-doctors-not-to-work in itsCARES Act “stimulus package.” The President signed it into law with this provision included (did Trump realize it was somewhere in the 1,000 plus page bill. it?), I have not read that the Depatment of Health and human Services, including it s various sub-bureaucracies such as Dr. Fauci’s NIAID, ever objected to it. The only explanations I can come up with for this bizarre, undeniabily harmful to the public government action, is that either key decision makers in Washington either do do not believe there is actually a pandemic, or they want to make it as deadly as possible. Truly chilling.

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