Cheap, Good Better Schools


Via San Diego's Richard Rider comes a tip about this Diane Ravitch op-ed in the NY Post.

Ravitch, an NYU prof and prolific historian of education, notes that the courts have ordered New York City schools to boost the $12,000 a year they spend per pupil to around $20,000. Then she asks us to "enter an alternate reality"–St. Joe High in Brooklyn:

Founded 100 years ago by the Sisters of St. Joseph, the school's mission is to serve poor and working-class girls. A generation ago, St. Joseph enrolled 1,400 girls, mainly the children of European immigrants. Now it enrolls 330 children of African-American, Caribbean and Hispanic families.

The tuition is $4,400. Nearly half the students receive reduced tuition. The actual cost of educating each girl is $6,400….

Although many come from stable families, the student body includes girls who live in desperate poverty; daughters of incarcerated women; girls with a parent living with HIV/AIDS; students in foster care; and refugees from Africa, Latin America and China. Some 55 percent of the students are black; 40 percent are Hispanic, with nearly 5 percent Asian and less than 1 percent white.

The school's results are remarkable. An amazing 98 percent of the girls complete high school, and 90 percent of the graduates attend college.

Whole thing here. I don't necessarily agree with all of Ravitch's policy proposals–and lord knows, as a Catholic school grad myself, I would never suggest them as the model to follow–but Ravitch's piece is another reminder that money not only can't buy you love; it also doesn't necessarily secure much in the way of education.