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The Therapy Sessions
Tuesday, September 07, 2004

The dreaded canard

Just when you think that Inquirer has caught on to its parochial, condescending attitude and is working on it, along comes an editorial that reminds you how far it has to go.

In this editorial, the editors call it a "canard" that the Philadelphia school system soaks up state money, and they attack, using the wrong statistics in the right way.

The Inquirer compares Philadelphia school spending per student to the spending of the some of the state's wealthiest counties:
Here are some new numbers to chew on: $2.37 billion, 176,000, $13,300.

The first number is how much public schools in two suburban counties - Montgomery and Chester - plan to spend this school year. The second is how many public school students the two counties have combined. The last is roughly how that works out in per-pupil spending.

More numbers (sorry about that): $1.9 billion, 210,000 and $9,050.

That's the similar rundown for the city schools.

Eewww numbers! They scared me with the numbers but I wasn't surprised that Philadelphia spending is less than these wealthy counties, who by the way, aren't asking the state to pay anything.

The Inquirer argues that state should increase school funding in Philadelphia to match these counties.

Not so fast.

According to the US census, the State of Pennsylvania spends $9,900 per student.

That is, Philadelphia spending (which is largely paid by the state) is comparable to the state average.

Do the editors of the Inquirer think the rest of the state is going to spend more on funding Philadelphia schools than it spends on its own kids?

I'm sure that the representatives of Carbon and Susquehanna counties, where per pupil spending is roughly $6,000 per student, will gladly find the needed money to raise Philadelphia's school funding to $13,000 per student.

There is no mention of Philadelphia's stifling bureaucracy, the political stubbornness of its teachers' unions, or the apathy of its (mostly single) parents.

As long as we are dreaming, why not raise Philly's funding to $16,000 per student, as Washington DC has done? We've all heard about the scholarship miracle going on in DC's schools, haven't we?

For the Inquirer, it is all about the money. And unfairly manipulating statistics to steal it.

Does the Inquirer think its readership is stupid? Does it truly believe that its cynical manipulation of statistics would be left unchallenged?

This is truly why blogs are essential.

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