The sixty-five cent solution

PHOENIX -- Patrick Byrne, a 42-year-old bear of a man who bristles with ideas that have made him rich and restless, has an idea that can provide a new desktop computer for every student in America without costing taxpayers a new nickel. Or it could provide 300,000 new $40,000-a-year teachers without any increase in taxes. His idea -- call it the 65 Percent Solution -- is politically delicious because it unites parents, taxpayers and teachers while, he hopes, sowing dissension in the ranks of the teachers unions, which he considers the principal institutional impediment to improving primary and secondary education.

You've never heard of Patrick Byrne, have you? I hadn't heard of him myself until a few days ago, so don't beat yourself up. It turns out that he has tons of money, and a great idea that will help education in this country.

The idea, which will face its first referendum in Arizona, is to require that 65 percent of every school district's education operational budget be spent on classroom instruction. On, that is, teachers and pupils, not bureaucracy.

Sounds good to me. Seems that currently, there are only four states that are doing this; Utah, New York, Maine and Tennessee. Yes, Tennessee uses sixty-five percent of it's education operational budget for classroom, i.e. students and teachers. So, why are Tennessee public schools hurting for money? Anybody have a good answer? More>>


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