So here’s an article where the doomsday scenario of teacher cuts is illuminated in big, bold print for all the world to see. We are talking about, by some estimates, 100,000 – 300,000 educators losing their jobs (those are Arne Duncan’s words) in the next few months.
In California, we pink-slipped something like 22,000 teachers. And everyone is befuddled as to an answer to help stave off this nightmare scenario.
I blogged about it last week, but let me suggest it again, this time with some math behind it. Let’s just pink slip the tests instead of the professionals.
In the state of California, for example, bubble tests are everywhere. I mean everywhere. Approximately 5 million students will be taking the CST exam for NCLB over the next month.
How much do we pay for each test? (I don’t know, but I wish someone would answer that for all of us.)
I’ll low-ball my guesstimates just to make the bigger point (i.e. of let’s just pink slip the tests instead of the professionals.)
I’ve heard there are over 6 million kids in California schools. Let’s toss out a million of them and posit that we’re only gonna pay ETS for 5 million tests.
How much does each test cost? According to the College Board website, the SAT costs $45 per test.
The College Board charges $86 per test for the AP exams, according to their site.
Being that the CST is for English, Math, History and Science – and being that I want to give the test makers a fair shake, let’s say they only charge 2/3 of the cost of an SAT for a more complex, longer, more broad in scope CST exam.
By that I mean, I’ll do the math at $30 per kid tested. (If AP are $86 per test, I find it hard to imagine that CST’s for NCLB are a 1/3 of the price for something that requires differentiation at every grade level, but like I said, let’s be fair and try to underestimate the fee they charge our schools for testing.)
So I underestimate the amount of kids taking the test at 5,000,000 and I underestimate the cost per test at $30 and that means that when I say that the number is $150,000,000.00 to test our state’s kids — that’s 150 million dollars — I think I am being conservative.
And we test them year after year after year. To put it in perspective,4 years of high school = 600 million dollars in testing.
So let’s say we actually took that $150 million for next year’s tests and put it on the table and asked ourselves, “Where could we get more bang for our buck?”
And by bang for our buck I mean, where will the money best be spent directly helping the kids of the 2010/2011 school year?
Should we spend $150,000,000 on bubble tests for our students or should we spend $150,000,000 on teachers for the students in the classrooms?
The answer to me, well… it seems self evident.