Dark567 wrote:There are bureaucratic problems having to provide education for so many people, the bureaucratic management involved with teaching 5 million people versus 300 million is going to be harder. Much more akin to trying to solve all the education problems in all of Western Europe. Although the US doesn't really try to do this and leaves most of education up to the states.
This is part of the thing.
In a wildly hyperbolic example say we've got one government bureaucrat doing something, but there's twice as much work to do as this one guy can do. So we hire another guy, except now we need to move the first guy to training the new guy which means the real work isn't getting done so we have to hire yet another guy to fill in the first guy's place fortunately the first guy is already working a training seminar so we can avoid having to hire yet someone else, but we can't shift the first guy back in to his old position because now he has to be in a supervisory position to make sure that the other two are doing the same kinds of work the same way so that the processing of all their work remains uniform.
1+1 = 3.
This is a hyperbolic and silly example to be sure, but illustrative of the problem of scale with large organizations. If you're finding adequate numbers of teachers in a suburban population (which I place the "ideal" at since my anecdotal evidence is that the best school districts in the U.S. are suburban), in a large urban metro with a similar population (Protip: they're not similar populations in the first place, see next paragraph) you're going to have to split some percentage of those teachers off to administrative duties (or hand administration off to people who build widgets and don't know the first thing about handling live specim.. err.. teaching students which gets you another flavor of suboptimal).
And this is before you come to the realization that the people with the best skills to teach often have better skills to do something else and are willing to do those jobs that can move them out of certain neighborhoods. which leaves historically poor or otherwise high-crime neighborhoods with a lack of people who could teach because regardless of pay they could have a better -lifestyle- in a different area than in the populations that need their skills the most.
On the other hand...
Excessively sparse populations run in to issues of material and related logistical issues. Tax revenue for the district is likely to be lower per capita (agricultural land has significantly lower taxes than residential or commercial) so you're going to have less money per student to buy books, and to provide transportation to and from school not only do you have less money to do that with, but in order to actually populate a modern school building you have to cast a much wider net and have a significantly larger district, which means longer busing routes.Why fill a modern scaled building, why not use Ye' Olde' One-Room Schoolhouse?
[Cue the old guy with the cane screaming that it was good enough for him in his day] See that problem with the administration that I lead this post off with? The more physical locations you separate an activity in to the more administrators you need to oversee the whole mess. So just throw a single teacher in a single schoolhouse then.
[cue old guy with the cane again] Sure, if you don't care about evaluating the quality of the education being presented (Oh wait that's the whole point of the discussion), and/or want your one teacher to be blowing time they could be teaching or grading papers making budgetary requests and trying to requisition books and making school population reports and filing incident reports and reviewing legal consequences of paddling little Timmy for mouthing off...
So your rural district has to gather a critical mass of students from a massive area in order to be able to run the bureaucracy efficiently and without going in to terrifying cost overruns from redundant employees, but gathering that many students over such a large area has it's own costs, not only in dollars but in hours (Sally and Gerald have to get up at 5:30 in the morning to make it to their 45-minute bus ride, ad the driver's been on the road (and on the clock) even longer than that) so the whole mess has to be carefully balanced.
And of course this assumes you can find enough teachers willing to live and work in rural outbacks where it takes an hour or longer simply in travel time to "go to town" just to buy groceries, or for their spouse to get to work in the nearest suburban area, or just to go see a movie,.... (Yes I've lived in middle of nowhere. It sucks). Again, they've got skills in demand, even if it's not teaching, that they can go to work in a community with a much better lifestyle than living in a house neighboring a cow pasture.
So, yeah the TL;DR of it is that there are significant differences in high and low population centers when it comes to gathering enough qualified teachers
We're in the traffic-chopper over the XKCD boards where there's been a thread-derailment. Later, Garrus was eaten by a shark. It is believed that the Point has perished in the accident. Back to you Bob.