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Improvement without more costs

The US is already spending more on education than some other countries with worse results. What we need is more intelligent use of that money. A number of commentators have proposed ways to obtain improvement without requiring more money:

- Performance pay for teachers. By definition, we'd only pay for those doing a good job.

- Move from current back-end loaded pension system to higher salaries up-front and 401B (public employee version of 401K) contributions. This would be more attractive to today's university graduates, who don't want to wait 20 years to get paid. In fact, over their careers, teachers aren't that badly paid - it is just that it is back-end loaded.

- Studies have shown that school choice, by making schools compete, makes them more cost efficient as well as producing better results. This should not be a surprise; this is a basic tenet of business and the reason for fostering competitiveness and having antitrust laws to stop monopolies.

- Give principals be given free reign on how to spend the money they get (which is based on the number of students), thereby cutting bureaucracy.

- As a way to help with the funding, the National Center on Education and the Economy proposes doing away with the last two years of high school. Instead, board exams are proposed at the end of the 10th grade for those that can pass. This will free up funding by not having to pay to teach students the last two years of high school who don't need the extra skills of the last 2 years because they get jobs right out of school or go on to trade schools. The students will either (1) go into the work force, (2) go to a trade school, or (3) go to a community college for 11-12 grade, if needed, and then a university.


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