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Education Funding, Teacher Shortages, and Where the heck does all the money go?!

Why can't $750 billion per year in education funding fix schooling and teacher shortages? Statistics tell the story.

Education funding

This article is mostly about statistics. And money.

We know statistics can be manipulated to promote certain narratives, and are fully aware the way they are communicated here support one. We share our narrative at the end, and it might not be what you think.

Education Funding

  • US taxpayers pay $79 billion per year to fund the Department of Education.

  • Only 8% of that Department of Education funding goes directly to K-12 schools.

  • $667 billion is paid in state and local taxes to fund schools across the USA.

That's a lot of money going toward "education", so teachers must be rolling in cash, right?

Teacher pay

Teacher Pay (To answer your question)

In the USA, teachers make an average of $41,000/year, while across the pond in the UK it's £24,000. If those statistics sound low, it's because they are, especially considering America's three-quarters of a billion dollars in funding (there's a lot to say about this, but we'll let others say it).

Retention Problems

Here are some personnel issues facing the government's schooling system:

  • 16% of teachers leave their job each year (8% change profession entirely, 8% move).

  • 30-45% of teachers leave within 5 years at cost of $20,000+ per new teacher hire.

  • There are few practical, quantitative and qualitative programs that empower teachers to improve school learning environments, and increase independence and collaboration for neurodiverse learners.

Children are entering school with challenges not seen at this magnitude, families are breaking (financially and otherwise), and educators are struggling... so what is our narrative?

Our Narrative: Better (and more relevant) Professional Development

  • $18 billion is spent annually on professional development in schools each year.

  • That's $4,500 per teacher each year (for just over 4 million teachers).

If we maintain the current funding structure of American public schooling, we could allocate $4,500 to each teacher for their individual professional development. This allocation could be utilized for a variety of purposes, including pursuing advanced education, engaging in leadership development, receiving specialized training in areas of interest, and obtaining support for special education instruction. However, the reality is quite different. Many public school professionals find themselves attending training sessions that do little to address the evolving needs of their students.

For instance, we received an account from an anonymous teacher who described being subjected to a less-than-effective training session. During this session, she was required to participate in what was referred to as a "struggle session." In this context, she was presented with various ideas and theories that ultimately failed to align with the pressing needs of her students. This anecdote underscores the disparity between the potential for personalized professional development and the actual experiences that educators often encounter. One quote from that session included:

"We reject... the notion the traditional American family... of traditional American values."

The handsomely-paid presenter then went on to chide those who believe there are, and deemed people oppressors who believe in those ideas. Again, she (or her organization) was paid tens of thousands of dollars to say this.

Legacy Education Group's role

Implementing comprehensive and high-quality teacher training programs that cater to the diverse needs of neurodiverse learners is paramount for creating an effective education system. These programs should encompass a multifaceted approach that addresses a spectrum of challenges. Firstly, focusing on communication and interaction differences would equip educators with the tools to recognize and adapt to varying communication styles, promoting better understanding and engagement among neurodiverse students. Secondly, training that delves into learning and cognition differences can empower teachers to employ tailored teaching methods that align with the unique learning profiles of neurodiverse individuals, ultimately enhancing their educational experiences and access to learning and assessment. Additionally, integrating modules on social-emotional strengthening and character education would enable teachers to create supportive classroom environments that promote emotional well-being and character development, fostering a sense of belonging for all students. Lastly, an emphasis on executive functioning skills in teacher training would facilitate the implementation of strategies that aid neurodiverse learners in organization, time management, and planning, setting them up for academic and personal success. By embracing these facets in teacher training, we can truly unlock the potential of neurodiverse students and nurture a more inclusive educational landscape.

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