In an informal survey of about 100 of its member organizations by the National PTA, conducted at the request of the reporter, the group concluded that parents and their communities contribute as much as if not more than $10 billion in cash and services to the nation's schools.Sounds like a lot of money until you realize:
Public elementary and secondary schools claimed nearly $373 billion in federal, state and local revenues during the 1999-2000 school year, federal statistics show. Nearly $9 billion of that came from nongovernmental sources.Then the $10 billion works out to about 2.5% of all spending. The $373 billion is an important number because it includes government spending from federal, state and local. Too often you see reports just looking at the federal spending on education, which I believe is about $50 billion. $373 billion of a $10 trillion economy puts primary education at about 3.5% of GDP.
Parental giving and fund-raising varies widely by income level. The PTA's for the poorest 25 percent of schools surveyed typically contributed $13 to $68 a student, while the wealthiest 25 percent of schools surveyed typically donated $192 to $279.I think there is too much emphasis on how much money each school gets and not enough on how much time parents volunteer to the schools. I would really like to see a study about how much volunteer time is given by parents in rich vs. poor schools. Or how much time parents spend helping their kids with school work in rich vs. poor schools. Or how much importance doing well in school is given. The ideas that all schools should perform at the same level is really an absurd one given these underlying factors. I also wonder if all schools did get an equal amount of money, how much difference in achievement would still exist?
via The New York Times