Economics of Social Issues Study Set 2

Business

Quiz 6 :

The Economics of Education: Crisis and Reform

Quiz 6 :

The Economics of Education: Crisis and Reform

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Explain the arguments in favor of a voucher program. Now explain the arguments against such a program. What evidence is there in support of each view?
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Voucher programs enable students at low performing schools to be able to attend other, higher performing schools. The stipulation for this practice is that these students are attached to government funds that go to whatever school they attend.
This has its pros and cons. The main pro is that the student is able to further his or her education at an institution that may be more conducive to learning. Depending on the circumstances, the student may also be able to receive better social and life experiences as a result of the move. If the child is moved to a private school, then the private K-12 system receives funds that help it reach or maintain its optimal enrollment level.
On the negative side, the transferred student takes away funds that would have gone to the school that he or she was previously attending. Additionally, while this may seem like a temporary benefit, it may not target any underlying reasons for the student's or the previous school's performance. Basically, it simply states that the school has somehow failed this student and removes funds that could have gone toward improving the student's or the school's performance.

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Relying on the National Assessment of Educational Progress report titled "Comparing Private Schools and Public Schools Using Hierarchical Linear Modeling," what can be said about the relative effectiveness of public and private schools in terms of student learning?
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The study undertaken in Comparing Private Schools and Public Schools Using Hierarchical Linear Modeling surprisingly pointed out only modest differences between the performance of students in public and in private schools. In fact, the achievement levels between the two entities were, for the most part, nearly the same. These findings indicate that, while environment may play a crucial developmental role in student learning, teaching effectiveness is paramount and both entities possessed highly effective teachers within their ranks.
Thus, it could be said that the relative effectiveness of public and private schools is nearly equal.

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How might tuition subsidies be used to cause a purely private system of K-12 to produce the socially optimal enrollment level?
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In a private K-12 education system, externalities in consumption would prove to be a problem. Since this type of education operates for profit, it would be counterproductive for non-paying or non-targeted individuals to benefit from this system. At the same time, paying for education would be undesirable for most consumers, resulting in lost revenue for the private education markets.
The implementation of tuition subsidies can mitigate this by equalizing the gap between marginal private benefits (the private system's profit) and the marginal social benefit (the need for quality education without the associated high costs). Tuition subsidies are payments made to families or schools by the government to invest in certain educational endeavors be it attending certain schools or implementing certain academic or extracurricular programs.

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Suppose the legislature of the state that you live in decides to invest an additional $100 million in K-12 education in hopes of improving student performance. Which of the following ways of spending the money would you expect to be most successful: a. Dividing the money equally among the schools in the state to increase teacher salaries. b. Dividing the money equally among the schools in the state to reduce class sizes in all grades. c. Dividing the money equally among the schools in the state to reduce class sizes in the lower grades. d. Using the money to reduce class sizes in the lower grades and giving a disproportionate share to schools in the state's poorer areas.
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The existence of positive externalities in consumption from K-12 education leads one to conclude that public subsidies of K-12 may be economically appropriate. If this is correct, are such subsidies as defensible for private as for public schools?
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Discuss: "Class size matters little to student achievement."
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Drawing on the data presented in this chapter, discuss the crisis in K-12.
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Discuss: "You cannot correct the problems of K-12 in the United States by simply 'throwing money' at the schools."
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List and briefly explain any externalities in consumption that you think exist for K-12.
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Relying on the concepts of marginal private and social benefits, explain why a purely private system of K-12 might not lead to enrollment levels that maximize social well-being.
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Show graphically and explain how a purely private market for K-12 might work. How responsive would such a system be?
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If a state decides to significantly reduce class sizes and wants to maintain instructor qualifications, why will it likely be required to increase teacher salaries?
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How does the existence of externalities in consumption arising from K-12 influence the question of who should pay for schooling?
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What role, if any, do you think teacher pay might play in an effective reform of K-12?
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Discuss: "Because of the extensive externalities arising from K-12, government production of K-12 is economically called for."
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