The boy crisis and tales from the DOD.

Brad Plumer points to this WaPo op-ed on the myth of the boy crisis, and highlights an interesting passage toward the end of the article:

The Department of Defense offers a better model [for schools]. DOD runs a vast network of schools on military bases in the United States and abroad for more than 100,000 children of service members. And in those schools, there is no class and race gap. That's because these schools have high expectations, a strong academic focus, and hire teachers with years of classroom experience and training (a majority with master's degrees).
Hmm. Interesting. My first thought was that it's probably due to DOD schools not being dependent on revenue from property taxes, leaving poor districts struggling and wealthy districts awash in opportunity, and Plumer, who always does his homework, finds an article which looked at the disparity between public and DOD schools, and found that economics does indeed play a role, if not an exclusive one. In addition to the stable incomes, guaranteed healthcare, and "culture of discipline" that life on a military base ensures:

The military school districts have "twice as much money to spend per student as the average Texas district"—not to mention fewer students in the first place. That means smaller classes, more aides, more assistants, more ESL classes. Across the country, the disparities aren't quite as stark, but base schools still spend $9,500 per student, as compared to a national average of $8,800 in public schools. No one can really say exactly how much of the success of military base schools is due to money and how much due to the other stuff, but that's obviously a big gap.
A gap that becomes embarrassingly large when drawn between per-student spending at base schools and schools that round out the bottom of that national average.

(Crossposted at AlterNet PEEK.)

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