Comparing APS and Private Schools

Today, a former APS teacher responded to Elisabeth Keen’s recent opinion piece on education and spending at APS. He said that comparing per pupil spending at The Academy and APS is not “apples to apples.” I tend to agree with him.

The Academy is one of the most expensive private schools in the nation and it has a large endowment including private donations and land. It also is selective in which students are allowed to enter. So, yes, the two are clearly different.

But, the Academy is not the only private school in the City. As Keen noted, there are other, much less-costly schools in town. Like the Academy, those schools also have graduation rates upwards of 90%. And, that is the biggest non apples-to-apples comparison of all: graduation rates and learning.

The private options succeed where APS fails, so comparing the two is really not fair. Of course, the Rio Grande Foundation and others have proposed initiatives that would allow kids currently trapped in failing public schools to attend private schools, but the education establishment has opposed them. As a writer from LULAC noted in a recent column, there are bills introduced in the session, but they face stiff opposition.

So, if and when kids in APS are allowed the choice of attending private schools, I think they’ll perform very well. If APS and their supporters are so confident that they are delivering a good product at a reasonable cost, they shouldn’t be worried about a little competition, should they?

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10 Replies to “Comparing APS and Private Schools”

  1. Beck and his ilk (Palin, Martinez, Fox, Sun Myung Moon/Washington Times, Rio Grande Foundation et al) find it safer and easier to blame teachers and schools than to blame parents. Have you asked random people what they’re reading? I do it regularly. The answer is usually “nothing.”

    People who paid to lift the weight get the blame, rather than the people who breed the weight. People who watch TV and breed the weight are encouraged to keep watching and breeding

    Teachers, public employees, military and other government contractors feed on taxes so are too vulnerable and too used to the govt’ teat to act or respond effectively: Sitting ducks (to mix metaphors) who participate in the problem, but didn’t cause it and don’t have the leadership to deal with it.

    1. “Beck and his ilk” typical false and misleading rhetoric. So how much are you getting from APS or a union?

      Parents (some parents) are to blame. However, some teachers have slipped into the “system” (take, take, take, screw everyone else).

      Personally, (and I know I will catch tons of flack for this) I think loser-students who don’t give a s..t and do nothing but cause trouble should be thrown out. If their gang-banging, drug-abusing parents (or whatever the current vernacular is these days for sperm and egg doners) don’t like the fact their worthless criminal spawn can’t come back and trash a school in the guise of “learning” tough s..t.

      But the fact remains: teachers have a much better “protection system” in place to keep them there even if they are incompetant (thanks to criminal-run corrupt labor unions) and outrageously-generous retirement payments that steal from private sector employees who pay the teachers retirements and these private sector people also have to pay their own.

      Sorry teachers; but it is going to change. You are no longer considered “sacred-cows”. You want an elevated retirement level? Contribute to it. And don’t give me that BS about “I work for low pay so I do”. NO ONE in the private sector (those of us who work for less and pay your way) has the outrageously-extravagant retirement you do. And your pay is not low.

      “Well” you say, “I and my counterparts will go into other lines of work where our degrees will be appreciated”. I say “go”. And you will find that you will actually have to WORK for and CONTRIBUTE TO your own retirement just like we do.

      Oh, and guess what, your idle threat (“who will educate our children”) will be taken up by private schools, who will actually EDUCATE kids rather than INDOCTRINATE THEM to communist idology. And maybe you will find out that perhaps you are not as protected a species as you think you are.

  2. John,

    I’m not blaming the teachers. I’m blaming a system that does not demand excellence and that serves the bureaucracy, not students and their parents. Teachers are only to blame to the extent that their union is one of the leading advocates for the status quo.

    Parents are indeed an issue, but if the schools are relying on parents to do the educating, why are we paying them thousands of dollars annually to educate our kids? The fact is that students CAN succeed despite inadequate parenting. Excellent schools and teachers can change the futures of children. That is what we are attempting to do by reforming education.

    1. “Teachers are only to blame to the extent that their union is one of the leading advocates for the status quo.”


      I am not comfortable with the above statement. Teachers union membership is barely 50%, most teachers who are union members are not vocal, and union leadership doesn’t necessarily represent even the opinions of the vocal teachers.

      Union leaders pretty much do their own thing and most of their “supporters” are members because of the insurance or protection against incompetent administrators, not because they’re behind their leadership philosophically. For the most, they’re just clinging to a straw.

      If anyone wants to write “teachers” this, or “teachers” that, they should make an attempt first, to communicate with a random sample of teachers directly, to find out what they are really thinking.

      I think a statewide survey of teachers, in which they are asked the right questions and for which they have no fear of retribution or retaliation for their answers, would give a vastly different picture of “teachers” than the one we now see.

      You have to wonder, why have teachers NEVER been scientifically surveyed on their opinions about the failure of public education.

      1. Fair enough Ched. My point is/was not to blame teachers. Membership in a union that conflicts with their own self-interest certainly creates problems.

  3. I am not a union supporter, nor do I think that New Mexico draws the best teachers. However a significantly large percentage of the student population are more than a challenge to teach. New Mexico has welcomed Mexican immigrants and 1st generation students for many years. These kids have no chance of succeeding in the APS public school system. They know they have to stay in school unti l they are 18 and are just waiting until that day. It’s dificult to teach those who have no intention of learning. Yes they may do better in a private school, but not if all their friends come with them. Unless the migration of kids from Mexico stops, New Mexico will need 2 separate public school systems in order to be effective. Or we can look at the voucher system again and let the immigrants have the public schools.

  4. After 100 years of
    the evil government schools, many black, Mexican-American and the ones
    the bureaucrats in the schools decide are poor whites are so abused
    that they learn to be criminals.

    If we could wake enough people up about the Poison Drops report and
    the Pygmalion effect maybe we could end this evil nightmare.

    The bureaucrats in the gov’t schools very carefully brainwash most of
    the “bad kids” to be bad. I watched it in MN, CO, AZ and NM.

    My family and I went through hell in those schools.

    “some kind of learning disabilities”–Government school learning
    disabilities. When you get them at 5 or 6 or 7 you can do anything
    with them. I always got along with the meanest kids on the block till
    they were about 10, when they had been so abused by the bureaucrats in
    school that I didn’t have the skills to deal with them anymore.
    In our family we had about 10% wonderful teachers and the rest were
    vicious, abusive bureaucrats.
    Probably the biggest problem was the institution of the government
    (socialist) schools in the late 19th and early 20th century. Did you
    know that we had higher literacy when we had only private schools?

    Have you read Gatto’s new book? “Weapons of Mass Instruction”.

    You might read Poison Drops:
    The report (Poison Drops) to the senate in 1885, said that gov’t
    school states had higher rates of crime, pauperism, mental illness,
    and suicide than private school states, and the longer they had gov’t
    schools the higher the rates were
    I see poison drops is back online:
    Critics of the public schools, particularly in urban ghettos, have
    long argued that many children fail to learn simply because their
    teachers do not expect them to. That proposition is effectively
    documented in a new book called Pygmalion in the Classroom (Holt,
    Rinehart & Winston; $4.95). The book tells of an ingenious experiment
    involving several teachers at a South San Francisco grade school who
    were deceived into believing that certain of their students had been
    spotted as “late bloomers.” Eight months later, the children’s
    academic abilities showed dramatic improvement.
    Friday, Sep. 20, 1968,8816,838752,00.html

  5. Competition is the backbone of our very successful capitalist society. Everyone, even the Chinese, is copying it! So, why are public schools afraid if competition? Same reason the postal service keeps beaurocratic control, banning UPS, DHL, and FedEx from delivering letters. They know the waste would be revealed if these companies were allowed to deliver letters, undamaged, on time, for less money. Instead, we monopolize government services (thank you unions) and pay too much for crappy service. Been to a private MVD? Though they cost more (because they still have to pay for the beaurocracy plus make money), you actually get service in less than a day! Let’s allow competition and see if we get better teaching from privately employed teachers who are paid bonuses for successes, fired for failure. So far, the models all suggest we will.

    1. Parental involvement is key to educational success. Sure, some kids are self motivated but most are not. My wife is Korean and in her country parents are “too” involved. It used to be common for a parent to offer cash bribes to teachers thus ensuring their child received more than adequate attention. Bribes are no longer tolerated (to teachers) so parents (usually the mother) oversea homework assignments, plus pay for tutors, cram, music and English schools. Their level of expectation is high and they show their children this by sacrificing money and time both monitoring and supporting all educational activities. The level of devotion is akin to that of the Chinese mother whose recent book made waves across America.

      While Korea is a highly unionized country it does little for teachers given the level of parental involvement. Bad teachers are shunned by parents thus forcing the system to get rid of them.

      The Korean school year if much longer too. And like most countries, Koreans do offer vocational high schools, something here in America is rare. Students who have no desire for a college tract can opt to attend specialized schools.

  6. What would help students in Albuquerque is the development of a 3 tiered public school system based on student grades.
    First Tier- “bad” students, students not interested or incapable of learning.
    Second Tier- students capable of making Cs and Ds, mild to moderate interes in learning and getting an education.
    Third Tier- Good students making As and Bs.

    Nothing but student grades would dictate where students go to school. Students would migrate from one tier to another via their grades or stay in the same tier if their grades remained the same.

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