If you want a very concrete example of what plagues the public schools in Washington, D.C., this story is for you. Bottom line: D.C. Public Schools are going to shell out $5.4 million this year for 68 employees who are currently slated to do … nothing.
It turns out these folks have no role in changes being made to the District’s school system, but they are too senior to let go. And this is a relatively small personnel hiccup for D.C. In 2003, the District “discovered” 640 employees who ended up costing $31 million.
It’s these sorts of things that make one think that perhaps funding really isn’t the primary problem in D.C. schools (that, and the nearly $20,000 per student D.C. has available), and that maybe — just maybe — it’s the bloated, lumbering system itself that’s the real educational enemy.