The above photo is from Matthew

Beware the “new and shiny” things.

This is the advice of our teacher panel this week, as we continue No Wrong Answers’ conversation about school funding begun last week. (Listen to last week’s episode here.) The Kansas Supreme Court has ruled school funding in the state is constitutionally inadequate. The Atlantic magazine said this “landmark ruling” could open the way for states to help close the achievement gap by funding schools more equitably.

Our teachers are skeptical of such optimism. Why? Partly due to their own experiences watching schools, districts, and states waste money in the past. LuAnn says schools like to buy “new and shiny” things (think: iPads or, blast from the past, Palm Pilots) without training teachers on how to utilize them.

But does that align our teachers with conservatives’ oft-heard argument that schools already have too much money?

“No, no, no. We need the money. We just need to spend it smarter,” David says. LuAnn suggests lawmakers listen to teachers about what they want money for. Jason proposes the the idea “that may not go over well” of paying teachers more.

“Some of these monies need to flow into the community and stop cutting paraeducators, stop cutting custodians, stop cutting language programs, but at the same time, we have to make sure we are providing a means for individuals to live on,” he says.

That’s just the start or our conversation? Did you hear Harvard Law School is ditching the LSAT? (Well, not ditching it but allowing students to submit GRE scores instead.) Our teachers have some definite opinions about the efficacy of standardized tests and what they do and do not say about student performance.

And can you spell jnana? Our teachers struggled, but were amazed at the spelling prowess of five-year old Edith Fuller of Oklahoma, who recently became the youngest ever qualifier for the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee. Despite her model, our teachers say spelling--and all the writing skills that go with it--are on the decline.

If you care about education and want to hear what teachers think about the big issues of the day, subscribe and review our podcast at iTunes. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter. Send us comments and questions at our email:

Music used in this episode is Inspiring Corporate and Scottish Indie by Scott Holmes, as well as Dirtbike Lovers by Blue Dot Sessions; all have been edited.