State Education

Education - the pipeline, critical for those in most need of infrastructure

Propositions - What do limitations in government really do?

Review at Hart and Risley, Meaningful Differences in the Everyday Lives of American Children detailed studies of 42 families linked to education and child development literature. After age 8, interventions are far more costly and less effective.

PreKindergarten  2005 data on dwindling American efforts

The United States spends 0.5% of GDP on age 0 – 6 child development compared to Denmark at 2% GDP (Starting Strong II, OECD). Not starting well means more costs and inefficiency in many ways

The Funding Gap 2004 Carey - state and local financing of education

Jay Greene, High School Graduation Rates in the United States - not a pretty picture

Carnevale and Rose in Kahlenberg, Left Behind, New Century Foundation, page 9 74% of top income quartile students attend top 146 colleges compared to 3% for lowest income quartile

Changes in Admissions in Allopathic Medical Schools

Admissions Ratios, Changing Admissions, and Physician Distribution


Rural Background and Rural Interest PowerPoint presentation on impact of education and admissions

States Graduating More Family Physicians

The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them. --Mark Twain

Education is a weapon, whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed. Joseph Stalin

Any society that labels a past generation as "the Greatest Generation" is one step from oblivion. The success of one generation remains primarily the preparation of the next generation. Robert C. Bowman 2003

I have been most impressed in recent weeks how American associations that have words such as democracy, education, civil rights, and equal opportunity in their title, have been most undemocratic, most inequitable, and most self-serving. - Robert C. Bowman 2003

Rural Education, Career Advice in Rural Communities

The following state by state quotes were taken from the latest state by state report cards for education done by Education Week as sponsored by the Pew Charitable Trusts You can register for site access for free and get reports and even the data tables at this site.

Rural and geographic factors, the challenges of diversity, poverty, low tax base, and increased challenges to education are obvious in many of the states

Those who think kids who have equitable chances at education and profession are living in a dream world.

The sources given add to the gathering body of evidence that one of the major (if not the major) reasons for maldistribution of professionals (and the benefits they bring) is the maldistribution of education. Efforts to level the playing field have had major impact. Email me for examples. This inequity continues to be fostered due to inequitable impacts of technology distribution, health expenditures, public health expenditures, etc.

Georgia  But other findings were less predictable. For instance, state officials say schools with the greatest needs tend to have higher percentages of teachers approaching retirement.  As a result, needy schools are staffed primarily with educators on the brink of retirement and young, inexperienced teachers.

Texas - According to Donna New Haschke, the president of the Texas State Teachers Association, an affiliate of the National Education Association, "We know that districts put the least experienced teachers in the areas of highest need, when those schools need the most experienced teachers," she says.

Oregon - Most notably, almost 40 percent of secondary students statewide are taught by a teacher without both a major and certification in the subject, according to a new federal Schools and Staffing Survey. That number jumps to almost 60 percent of students in high-poverty schools.

Nebraska's small, rural school districts are bearing the brunt of a persistent teacher shortage and cutbacks in programs aimed at improving teacher quality, recruitment, and retention.

Addendum by RCB - Nebraska ranks in the top 5 nationally in 2nd grade reading level, the measurement least impacted by state efforts. From there on out things deteriorate as state funding inequities have impact. The teachers union is again considering lawsuits by inner city and rural school districts to equalize funding. Masters level teachers are paid $17,000 a year less in the poorly funded districts compared to the well off.

New Mexico - When officials analyzed the 2000-01 data, he says, they found—as in many states—the least qualified teachers were teaching the children most in need.

North Carolina - In many of the state's poor, rural schools, teachers leave their positions at more than twice the rate statewide: In some districts, about one-fourth of teachers, and as many as one-half in some schools, leave each year. Such schools also claim the largest proportions of teachers not fully licensed—up to a third or more in the neediest schools.

Comment by RCB - NC also has an 8 year legal battle requiring the state to come up with an equity plan to remedy problems with financing of rural school districts. Six states have legal actions pending in this area.

Arkansas - Like many high-poverty school systems across the country, Arkansas' poorest districts struggle to attract well-qualified teachers while competing with the higher salaries and better working conditions offered by wealthier districts. But when it comes to recruiting newly minted graduates, the state's most rural communities along the Mississippi Delta must also overcome another barrier: boredom.  In rural areas without movie theaters, restaurants, jobs for spouses, or even much in the way of available housing, it can be particularly onerous to fill teaching vacancies.

Comment by RCB - Even some of the most isolated towns have often managed to open movie theatres and provide other forms of entertainment. Some of these are not as appealing to those who write such reviews. No one seems to note the difficulty of being able to find a rodeo or raise a cow for competition in urban areas. Seems like education writers and sometimes leadership make the same assumptions as medical education leadership  Granted there are differences, but selecting for differences is also a possibility.

Minnesota - As a state where a high percentage of teachers have bachelor's degrees with majors in the subjects they teach, Minnesota is well positioned to deal with the new federal mandate for a "highly qualified" teacher in every classroom by the end of the 2005-06 school year, says state schools chief Christine Jax.

Kentucky - (not much critique in summary noted) In a 13-year school improvement odyssey stemming from a landmark school finance decision, the Bluegrass State has devised several forms of intervention to help teachers in schools deemed failing according to a statewide accountability index. The programs provide low-performing schools with experienced teachers who serve as full-time consultants, and set aside professional-development money for all teachers, including those identified as needing improvement.

Final Comment by RCB - For better or for worse, education was the top priority of the Bush Administration before 9/11 (source 3/17/2003 comments of major network

With the changes going on and the continuing problems of centralization of resources the situation in education will not improve without major sacrifice by individuals, schools, states, and others. As professionals in your own communities and as physicians practicing with patients in other communities, I urge you to take part in giving kids a better chance. You will not be disappointed with kids who have overcome inequities and struggles to make it

Our most challenging schools and kids need the best teachers, the ones who stay in place. They need access to the best resources for education.

Our most challenging populations need the best doctors, the ones who stay in place. They need access to the best resources for health care.

Governments, professionals, and other leaders should not accept excuses when they need results, for the benefit of those impacted, their children, and those who will care for and pay for these areas in future years. Hiding behind poor awareness, excuses, diversions, divisions, turf battles, re-organizations, and neglect is a policy guaranteed to fail education, perhaps the best indicator of our nation's future.

Robert C. Bowman, M.D.

PS - coordinators outside my office door right now are discussing the problems of teacher salaries, something they trained for, and have yet to enter fully, and may never do so. - Update - both decided to take the plunge and become teachers after a few years of other careers and knowing fully the difficulties. I am proud to work with such folks and hate to lose them from our office.

Physician Workforce Studies




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