ABCs to ATMs - The Case for Paying Students to Learn

Chapter 11: Cost Benefits to Schools

A Paradigm Shift in Educational Economics

Venturing into the financial landscape of the Outstanda model, it’s crucial to recognize that the focus is not merely on an expenditure but an investment—an investment that promises rich academic and economic dividends in the long run. While the upfront costs may initially be higher, the long-term gains significantly outweigh them. This chapter aims to dissect these financial intricacies.

The Perennial Struggle of Underperforming Schools

It’s important to address the unique plight of underperforming schools that find themselves in a seemingly endless cycle of trying new programs each year. These schools face extreme pressure to improve student performance and, as a result, end up investing in the latest educational trends, only to find little change in student motivation. This recurring cycle is not only frustrating but also a financial drain. Outstanda offers a sustainable solution to this challenge by directly incentivizing student performance, thereby achieving quicker and more lasting improvements.

Administrative and Testing Costs: The Downward Curve

Shifting to independent assessment centers relieves schools from the logistical and financial burdens associated with large-scale standardized testing. This allows teachers to focus more on teaching and less on administrative tasks, resulting in substantial cost savings over time.

In fact, a simple web search shows that billions of dollars each year are spent on various testing products, with a vast majority going to a few large corporations as profits. Seeing 90% of this money put into a local community instead is addresses a lot of important issues.

Teacher Attrition: The Natural Road to Streamlining

The model facilitates natural staff reductions through attrition rather than abrupt layoffs. As the system optimizes itself, schools can reallocate these funds to offer more learning gigs, thereby increasing both the educational and earning opportunities for students.

In no case would a school be able to start laying off teachers. Our proposed solution depends on high-quality engaging teachers. However, the many benefits of the model will mean teachers will be able to serve more students with less stress, and over time, as teachers leave or retire, a natural reduction in staffing will occur.

Running Two Shifts: Doubling Efficiency

Utilizing school buildings for two shifts can essentially double student capacity without the need for additional infrastructure. This innovative approach significantly reduces per-student costs by maximizing the use of existing facilities.

This is not new.  Schools already do this and those schools typically have a surplus of cash because of the enhanced efficiency.

Reallocating Resources: The Virtuous Cycle

Savings on administrative, testing, and facility costs can be funneled back into other educational needs, whether it’s cutting-edge technology, specialized teaching staff, or enriched extracurricular programs. This creates a virtuous cycle of investment and improvement that makes schools more appealing to prospective students, thereby boosting enrollment and reducing per-student costs further.

Unforeseen Benefits: Beyond the Budget Sheet

  1. Community Partnerships: Improved financial stability among families opens doors for partnerships with local businesses, providing another layer of real-world educational experience. Youth internships and collaboration are more likely when students are seen as serious, mature members of the community.
  2. Reduced Security Costs: Safety is always a top concern. However, improved student behavior cuts down the need for extensive security measures, further reducing operational costs
  3. Parental Engagement: Increased parental involvement in the Outstanda model could lead to greater support for school levies and fundraisers, indirectly bolstering school finances.
  4. Environmental Savings: The blended model reduces utility usage, contributing to both ecological sustainability and financial savings.
  5. Flexibility: With online access to learning in the blended model, snow days mean more studying at home. Going on a trip? Study on the road. Want to get ahead during a break? No one is stopping you.

A Phased Approach: The Path to Full Implementation

A gradual, phased approach to implementing Outstanda allows schools to test the waters, fine-tune the system, and expand it organically. This mitigates risks and ensures a smoother transition for all stakeholders.

A Sustainable Model for the Future

The Outstanda model is a financially sustainable approach to education that significantly improves educational outcomes while also generating a cascade of savings and benefits across various aspects of school operations. Far from being just an innovative teaching method, it’s a comprehensive strategy for educational and financial sustainability.

By directly addressing the root causes of student disengagement and underperformance, Outstanda not only offers a way out of the annual cycle of educational fads but also provides a long-term, financially viable solution for schools of all kinds.

If cities want to attract high-paying employers, create an attractive workforce with a strong work ethic and sharp mental abilities. Pay your students now and they will pay you back many times over in the future.

Ron McDaniel

Founder, Outstanda

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Author of “ABCs to ATMs”
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