Greene on Schools: No More Taj Mahals

Future Fayetteville High School (artist's rendition)
Future Fayetteville High School (artist's rendition)

University of Arkansas education reformer Jay P. Greene has a nice post at his blog looking at the discussion of a new building for Fayetteville High School. Local officials are talking about building a “21st century” high school facility to replace the current aging high school, but Greene argues that it’s not facilities the district needs to invest in:

How about if we take some of the money that we were willing to spend on a shiny new building and invest it intelligently in recruiting, retaining, and motivating the best teachers?

I couldn’t agree more: The quality of facilities has nothing to do with the students’ educational experience. For example, kids in rich schools can run into trouble with drugs and crime just as readily as kids in poor schools. At least that’s the lesson I learned from watching “21 Jump Street.”

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6 thoughts on “Greene on Schools: No More Taj Mahals

  • October 24, 2008 at 7:19 am
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    Thanks for the link. I would only add that your perceptions from “21 Jump Street” are not wrong.

    A number of years ago Greg Forster and I analyzed data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health to compare student behavior in urban and suburban public high schools. We found that “suburban public high school students have sex, drink, smoke, use illegal drugs, and engage in delinquent behavior as often as urban public high school students.” We concluded: “For the last several decades middle-class families have been fleeing from the cities to the suburbs, in part because many parents see the suburbs, and suburban public schools in particular, as refuges from the disorder and social collapse they see as endemic to America’s urban school districts. Parents believe that suburban public schools provide children with safer, more orderly, and more wholesome environments than their urban counterparts.

    This report finds that those perceptions are unfounded.”

    You can find the study here: http://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/ewp_04.htm

    Reply
  • October 24, 2008 at 8:02 am
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    Ah, prime-time cop dramas. You’ve never led me astray.
    D.

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  • October 24, 2008 at 8:58 am
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    Wow, thanks for that report Mr. Greene on the fact that high school students “have sex, drink, smoke, use illegal drugs, and engage in delinquent behavior.” I never would have guessed it. I can tell you that work was money well spent.

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  • October 24, 2008 at 10:22 am
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    Damn what a great show. Remember the one were Peter DeLuise went undercover in a high school and got to play high school football again! The coach made him play injured and……well I don’t remember the rest…but man that was a great show.

    Wasn’t there a Chinese guy who knew karate on that show?

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  • October 24, 2008 at 11:17 am
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    Bryce,
    Wasn’t that when you made your decision to pursue a career in law enforcement? Or was it after watching T.J. Hooker cling to the hood of a car in the midst of a heated chase and just knowing that was the life for you?
    D.

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  • October 24, 2008 at 12:57 pm
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    Oddly enough hookers did having something to do with my choice of a career path. That coupled with my strong love for goverment and for making 17,000 dolars a year with my bachelors degree.

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