I like the guy’s creativity despite the precedent it sets. What’s next? Product placements in school plays (can schools still afford putting on plays?) to pay for toilet paper in the rest rooms? School desks plastered with ads to pay for the desks themselves?

Ah, remember the good old days of no student left behind? Today it’s all students left behind.

Ads on tests add up for teacher

Tom Farber gives a lot of tests. He’s a calculus teacher, after all.

So when administrators at Rancho Bernardo, his suburban San Diego high school, announced the district was cutting spending on supplies by nearly a third, Farber had a problem. At 3 cents a page, his tests would cost more than $500 a year. His copying budget: $316. But he wanted to give students enough practice for the big tests they’ll face in the spring, such as the Advanced Placement exam.

“Tough times call for tough actions,” he says. So he started selling ads on his test papers: $10 for a quiz, $20 for a chapter test, $30 for a semester final.

San Diego magazine and The San Diego Union-Tribune featured his plan just before Thanksgiving, and Farber came home from a few days out of town to 75 e-mail requests for ads. So far, he has collected $350. His semester final is sold out.




  1. Darran says:

    We’ve been worried about this for some time in the UK, all the Exams are put together by corporate entities.

  2. Paddy-O says:

    Uncle Dave said, “Ah, remember the good old days of no student left behind? Today it’s all students left behind.”

    Yep. That was when spending per pupil was much less than it is today.

    I remember a few years ago checking out one of the best school districts in CA to see if I would send the kids there or private. The district was spending unbelievable amounts of money on areas that didn’t exist 30-40 years ago.

    Spending on administrators was up ~50%. Psychiatrists & psychologists assigned to every school on full time salary. Buying new math books at the K-6 every 2 years. (math doesn’t change).

    Schools aren’t cash strapped, they are horribly mismanaged.

  3. stopher says:

    The students should start taking out ads with the test answers.

  4. Mister Mustard says:

    #2 – Paddy-RAMBO

    >>I remember a few years ago checking out one
    >>of the best school districts in CA to see if
    >>I would send the kids there or private.

    Wow, a counter boy at Radio Shack is looking into moving into the toniest of the tony California zip codes? Only in America! Land of opportunity.

  5. Alex Wollangk says:

    It must be harder to manage the budget of a “public” organization than to win a Nobel Prize. There are a lot more people winning Nobel Prizes than there are managing budgets well…

    Of the examples Paddy-O (#2) gave, the administrative spending smells of mis-management, but textbooks and psychologists? There are DEFINITELY worse ways to spend the money. I’d be surprised if they had psychiatrists on staff, though. It would make more sense to hire a Pediatrician who can do everything a psychiatrist can and more. A staff psychologist in a school (if it’s big enough) or a school district can provide support to the teachers that can substantially improve the education all the students get. My daughter’s school has a school psychologist and a school social worker and their salaries are money well spent.

    If you see a school where the administrative offices have gorgeous all wood interiors and the principal has a hand carved desk while the students have to share because while they have enough textbooks but none of them have all the pages… THAT’s when you need to take a close look at what is really going on there. When there are 45 students in a class because they just cut the number of teachers yet again while the football coach drives a brand new Porsche but doesn’t actually teach any classes, THEN someone needs to re-evaluate their priorities.

  6. Paddy-O says:

    # 5 Alex Wollangk said, “A staff psychologist in a school (if it’s big enough) or a school district can provide support to the teachers that can substantially improve the education all the students get.”

    No. Education was MUCH better quality (research it yourself) 30+ years ago, before any extraneous and unnecessary staff such as this existed. So that’s has automatically been disproved.

    Face it, we spend more per capita on EDU than ANY country in the world. Anyone screaming “cash strapped” is a total idiot.

  7. Jim says:

    well, we spend more on education than the rest of the world, and we’re falling behind. we spend more on medical care than the rest of the world (per capita), and medical access based on your bank account is getting worse and worse every year compared to the world. we spend more on the military and military needs than we have in generations (yes i know it’s less than ww2, but it’s a huge part of the budget you have to admit), and the soldiers aren’t getting the equipment they actually need (like quality body armor and quality tanks) while the private sector is making out like a bandit.

    you ever wonder if we’re paying higher than retail for goods that are more worthy for a dollar store than the regular grocery store or even walmart? and that we’re the only ones in the world not realizing that yet?

  8. MikeN says:

    Nothing new, haven’t you guys heard ofChannelOne?

  9. zorkor says:

    Only in America folks!

  10. LibertyLover says:

    The United States Department of Education has admitted the average cost of publicly schooling a pupil is more than double the cost of privately schooling a pupil, even with the much higher student to teacher ratio of public schools over private schools.

    What are private schools doing that public schools aren’t?

    http://tinyurl.com/6a33op

  11. Floyd says:

    A more even comparison of private vs public schools:

    http://www.greatschools.net/cgi-bin/showarticle/197

    In short, private schools choose their students using examinations and similar means. They don’t have to admit everyone.
    Public schools do have to admit all children.

    My opinion: public school students that have their parents’ support do better than students that don’t help their kids with school and homework. You would be surprised (or maybe you wouldn’t) how few parents show up for parent teacher nights in public schools.

  12. LibertyLover says:

    In short, private schools choose their students using examinations and similar means. They don’t have to admit everyone.
    Public schools do have to admit all children.

    I wish they would have listed the percentage of students rejected from private schools due to “special needs.”

    I know the public school system here handles about 30 kids out of 1,000 — and they don’t have “special needs” certified teachers just for them either because they can’t find anyone certified — they’re all working at private “special needs” schools.

  13. Paddy-O says:

    # 11 Floyd said, “In short, private schools choose their students using examinations and similar means. They don’t have to admit everyone.
    Public schools do have to admit all children.”

    Which has always been the case. Thus, a constant.
    So, despite more & more $ the public school system is failing. If you want to fix it you must isolate the changes that have been made since it was last functioning well and revert them.


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