## Sunday, Debtember 05, 1999

### “How much for just the student?”

But I would feel a lot better about free trade if we had decent schools, and a LOT better if we had schools WORTH $8,000 per pupil per year. Give me $800,000 and 100 randomly selected kids, and I guarantee you I'd give them a better education than they are getting from the school system almost anywhere.

â€”Jerry Pournelle, on the state of the Educational System.

*NOTE: All monetary quotes are in U. S. Dollars.*

What could be done with $800,000 per year for 100 students? I've given it some thought and I do believe it can be done and still pay teachers a decent salary. It's a different model from what is currently done and I'm not sure if anyone with a vested interest in the current system will go for it (read: mostly administrators) but it might be possible.

The current problem is overcrowdingâ€”with up to 40 students per class, it is difficult to teach, much less maintain control, over the students. The best ratio, 1-to-1, is very cost prohibited, but a decent compromise, twenty students per teacher, is doable and isn't that cost prohibited.

My proposed system breaks down to each student paying $1,000 per year per class. Class size is restructed to at most 20 students. That gives at most $20,000 per class per year to teach. Give $15,000 to the teacher (I know, $15,000/year isn't enough to live on, just give me a moment) leaving $5,000 per class left over for books, materials, maintenance of the facilities (room).

Note, that is *per class,* which is one hour per day, five days a
week for 36 weeks (the yearly schedule I grew up under). For every class a
teacher teaches, she receives an additional $15,000/year, with an upper limit
of 3 classes per year (for a yearly salary of $45,000/year, which I know a
lot of teachers would love to recieve).

With a student taking an average of say, 5 classes per year for
$5,000/year (less than the $8,000 now) that means that $3,750 goes for
teachers' salaries, leaving $1,250 (per average student) to cover other
costs. If a school has 1,000 students, that still leaves (remember, the
**teachers are already paid**) $1,250,000 per year per school to run
it.

With this payscale, each teacher will only be responsible for at most 60 students per year, they teach for three hours a day, leaving another five set aside for grading, preparing lessons and additional instruction for those students that may need it.

Also, make it a bit easier for those that want to teach to teach and even if they can only teach one class, they still make $15,000/year, in addition to any other job they may have.

There are still problems with the idea, but none that already don't exist.