From the case files of “Why Putting More Money into the Education System Doesn’t Mean Better-Educated Students”…
The Washington Times reports today on a high-ranking D.C. schools bureaucrat who is really raking in the dough:
Robert C. Rice last year earned a $124,923 salary as the school system’s assistant superintendent for standards and curriculum and acting chief academic officer, records show. When he was promoted to interim superintendent for five months last year, his salary rose to $175,000 a year.
Mr. Rice stepped down from the interim job in September, but pay documents show he is still receiving his interim salary as a “special assistant to the superintendent” — a position created for him. The newly created job makes Mr. Rice one of the highest-paid employees in the school system and in city government.
The school system last year had one special assistant to the superintendent, a position that paid $52,936 a year, according to pay documents. This year, pay documents show that the system has two special assistants to the superintendent: Joyce Matthews McNeil, who earns $64,101 a year, and Mr. Rice, who makes $175,000 a year — or $210,000 a year, including benefits.
D.C. Schools spends more per pupil by far than any of the 50 states, and the district’s students consistently rank at the bottom in achievement statistics. By now, we should all be comfortable in pointing out that K-12 public education in the United States needs to focus more on outputs than inputs – when the system cries out for more money, there’s an opportunity to step in and promote the increasingly mainstream ideas of school choice and accountability, empowering parents, and decentralizing bureaucracy.
Stories like the one today in the Times should only feed the momentum of great new innovative ideas – like that of the “65 percent solution” promoted by educational entrepreneur Patrick Byrne. He wants to start initiatives all across the nation that require 65% of public education funds be spent in the classroom.
George Will highlighted the idea in a recent column. Mike at Best Destiny has also taken a look at it. The idea is simple: instead of pouring more money down the drain, reallocate more of the resources that are already there into the area where it will have the most direct impact. Of course, such a plan is not a panacea but definitely another promising idea on the road to education reform and certainly worth consideration. If such a proposal were passed in Colorado, another $370 million a year would head into the classroom without raising taxes one dime.
Or we can create new $175,000-a-year administrative jobs, like the not-so-successful D.C. school system. You decide.