I was shamelessly looking over a shoulder this morning at test scores and remarked to the guy they were intended for that they looked remarkably uniform. Was the maximum score on the test 30? No, he said it was 100.
He told me his 9th grade Algebra class was full of children who had never been to school. I don't mean kids who skip school. I mean kids who have attended only a year or two of school in their lives because their parents couldn't afford to pay tuition where they used to live.
There are two things to think about here.
First, there are countries with no free education.
Second, these kids are like Tarzan when it comes to school. You remember him? Tarzan was not even marginally ready to go to high school. But we have a staff to care for and teach him and the other kids who are not ready to do any number of the things that your kids are ready to do.
Our school has ten reading teachers. Not English teachers. These are just for teaching reading to kids who are not up to reading above a fourth grade level. That means they may be at a first grade level for those of you who don't know that the NCLB ruler begins at four, not zero.
I have no idea how many remedial Math teachers we have (there are eighteen Math teachers for a population of 1,700 students) but fifteen reading teachers require about three quarters of a million dollars in payroll and benefits, not to mention the fact that they displace other classes since the school has a fixed budget based on a population of kids who have NO SPECIAL NEEDS AT ALL. Or put another way, ten percent of our staff doesn't teach high school skills. The official count for Reading is ten but there are twenty English teachers on staff.
18 Math, 20 English, 10 Reading = 48 out of 134 people teaching classes and providing resources.