teachers were all assigned to the lowerrngrades, this would leave only 527,000rnteachers for the 13.6 million students inrngrades nine through 12. For them, thernstudent-teacher ratio would soar to almostrn26 to one, thus crippling the personalrnattention that might help lessen thernalarming high-school dropout rates.rnPeople in general, and politicians inrnparticular, are overly impressed withrnnumbers, and in education, most everyonernseems to agree that more teachersrnand more money will solve perceivedrnproblems. But three examples seem tornindicate otherwise.rnFirst, do lower student-teacher ratiosrnautomatically increase educationalrnachievement? It would be difficult tornclaim this on the basis of statistics. Forrnexample, that ratio in Texas in 1996 wasrn15.5 to one, much lower than the nationalrnaverage, but the graduation rate inrnTexas was only 58.4 percent (43rd in thernnation) and SAT scores were below thernnational average. By contrast, the student-rnteacher ratio in Utah that same yearrnwas a high 24.4 to one, the graduationrnrate was 78.4 percent (12th highest nationally),rnand SAT scores were muchrnhigher than the national average.rnSecond, does teacher pay correlaternwith student achievement? Again, it isrndifficult to argue that it does. The averagernteacher’s salary in California in 1996rnwas $43,725. The state ranked 37th in itsrngraduation rate and had SAT scores thatrnwere nothing to brag about. Meanwhile,rnthe average teacher’s salary in Utah wasrnonly 75 percent of his counterpart’s inrnCalifornia.rnFinally, can the federal government bernexpected to provide any leadership whatsoeverrnin the field of education? Thernmost devastating answer to this is presentedrnby the District of Columbia, which,rnaccording to the Constitution, is underrnthe control of Congress. In D.C., teacherrnsalaries averaged $46,350 in 1996rn(sixth highest nationally), the studentteacherrnratio was 14.9 to one (much lowerrnthan average) and the expenditure perrnpupil was the second highest in the nation.rnYet SAT scores in D.C. were secondrnfrom the bottom, and the graduationrnrate was only 53.2 percent, the lowest inrnthe nation.rnAlong with the 100,000 teachers, Clinton’srneducation proposal calls for buildingrn5,000 schools. Quite aside from all ofrnthe figures offered above, if the 100,000rnnew teachers were assigned to thosernschools, each would have but 20 teachers,rnhardly enough for a country school inrna small coimty.rnIt boggles the mind to consider thernwild applause offered by the audience atrnMary Pride, The Big Book of HomernLearning (Crossway Books). Now in itsrnfourth edition. The Big Book of HomernLearning is the indispensable resource forrnparents considering homeschooling and forrnanyone intrigued by the rise of home education.rnGeorge Meredith, The Ordeal of RichardrnFeverel (Penguin Books). This brilliantrnnovel chronicles the tragic rise and fall of arnyoimg man whose doting father tries to educaternhim into perfection.rnSophocles, Philoctetes. A rare Creek tragedyrnwithout sex or violence, in which arnyoung man learns moral responsibility.rnGerard B. Wegemer, Thomas More: ArnPortrait of Courage (Scepter Publishers).rnThis readable biography concentrates onrnMore’s moral and spiritual heroism and explainsrnhow his “habitual attention to conscience”rnenabled him to be “merry to thernend.”rnthe State of the Union Address whenrnnothing but numerological glossolaliarnwas mentioned in regard to education. Arnmuch better proposal would be for thernfederal government to turn its attentionrnto the D.C. public schools and makernthem a model of educational excellencernthat the rest of the nation could strive tornimitate with local dollars and local management.rnOne question that hasn’t been raised isrnhow the nation could produce and certifyrn100,000 new teachers in short order.rnOne suggestion would be to decrease, orrnbetter yet eliminate, the need for localrncompliance officials, who could teachrnbut instead spend their valuable time filingrnreports with the Department of Education.rnAnd, of course, the eliminationrnof the Department of Education itselfrnwould release a huge number of certifiedrnteachers.rnWith NATO’s recent “victory,” everyonernshould hope that President Clintonrnwill not try to impose some variation onrnhis favorite number on the people ofrnKosovo.rn— Robert /. WisnerrnOBITER DICTA: Time is running outrnto register at the early-bird rate for thernTenth Annual Meeting of the John RandolphrnClub. This year, our doughtyrnband of paleoconservatives and libertariansrnstrikes at the belly of the beast, crossingrnthe Potomac River into Georgetownrnto explain “Why Washington Doesn’trnMatter.” With the possibility of a surprisernguest showing up for dinner on Saturdayrnnight, this is one John Randolph Clubrnmeeting you won’t want to miss. To register,rnplease see the advertisement on therninside front cover. Also, please note thatrnthe last day to receive the special JRC raternat the Latham Hotel is September 8.rnOur poetry this month flows from thernhands of Constance Rowell Mastores ofrnOakland, California. Her poetry has appearedrnin the Lyric, Press, Blue Unicom,rnBoulevard, and Artweek, among others.rnThe intriguing caricatures of DarrenrnGygi return to our pages this month.rnMr. Gygi, who also provided the artworkrnfor the July issue of Chronicles, hasrnbeen illustrating magazines for overrntwo years. A lifelong student of caricature,rnMr. Gygi resides in Utah with hisrnwife, Megan. More samples of his workrncan be found in his online portfolio,rnwww. theispot. com/artist/gygi.rnSEPTEMBER 1999/9rnrnrn