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  • Education Spending? Sounds Good -- Until the Tax Man Cometh

    According to a new poll by the education research journal Education Next, 65 percent of the American public wants education spending to increase. That figure, the poll’s architect Paul Peterson notes, is the kind of polling data “that the president’s political advisors undoubtedly rely upon when they decide to appeal for more education spending.”

    But that figure drops significantly—by nearly half—when respondents realize that their taxes are at stake. When asked, “Do you think that taxes to fund public schools around the nation should increase, decrease or stay about the same?” just 35 percent supported increasing education spending.

    Similarly, when informed that nearly $13,000 per child is spent in public schools, support for increasing education spending stands at just 49 percent. Peterson detailed the poll’s findings in The Wall Street Journal on Friday, noting:

    So there is the nation’s debt crisis in a nutshell. If people aren’t told that nearly $13,000 is currently being spent per pupil, or if they aren’t reminded that there is no such thing as a free lunch, they can be persuaded to think schools should be spending still more.

    How much more would support for spending increases drop if policymakers presented the American public with data on historical spending increases and how little they have impacted student achievement?

    Since the 1960s, federal per-pupil expenditures have nearly tripled, after adjusting for inflation. Since the 1970s, they’ve more than doubled. Yet since the mid-1970s, reading achievement has flatlined and graduation rates have remained stagnant.

    Poor and minority students have been particularly ill-served by liberal education policies that argue that more money is needed to improve outcomes. More money is thrown at poor-performing public school systems instead of providing low-income children with a lifeline to a quality education: control over how and where they spend their share of education funding.

    More than any other education reform to date, school choice improves outcomes for children. School choice—whether vouchers, tax credits, or education savings accounts—increases academic achievement and attainment levels, increases parental satisfaction and child safety, and puts families—not governments—in charge of their children’s education.

    When given the facts, Americans understand that government spending isn’t the solution to the nation’s problems. Just as government cannot create jobs, continued government control of education will not improve it. Instead of throwing more precious taxpayer money into a failing public education system, give parents control over those dollars to choose a school that is in the best interest of their children. That will do more than any spending increase ever will.

    Posted in Education [slideshow_deploy]

    6 Responses to Education Spending? Sounds Good -- Until the Tax Man Cometh

    1. BubbaBrown says:

      Private schools do a much better job for half the price. The U.S. Dept. of Education needs to go away and put education back in the hands of the states. In our part of the country, 80% of public school teachers, send their children to private schools, not hard to figure out why.

    2. Stirling says:

      This is annother reason why this country needs to have more people with "Skin in the game." It's just like Entitlements, which is seen as "Other peoples money" being spent. When our country has everyone feeling it in their pocketbook times will change.

    3. crooked wren says:

      Education has suffered increasingly since the U.S. Dept. of Education was created.


      Get rid of it, and our educational system will improve.

    4. Taxpayingman says:

      Competition would help immensly. Teachers must compete for placement in preferred schools, and must compete to retain their jobs. Students must compete for placement in preferred schools. Schools must compete to attract parents and students. Everyone gets to vote with their feet, if they can meet the standards to go to a better school. Students that cannot control their animal inclinations are expelled (liberals will cry, "but wait, if you expell them they'll just be running wild in the streets", to which the answer is that they are already running wild in the schools and ruining school for those who might have a chance at bettering themselves.) Pouring money into a system without any accountability or competition cannot work, but the liberal answer is always to "do more of the same". It didn't work for welfare, and it isn't working for education.

    5. Michael Holzman says:

      It is often said, in certain circles, that “money doesn’t matter in education.” But, as that well-known social commentator, Deep Throat, observed, to understand what’s going on, we need to “follow the money.”

      Take the dramatic per pupil spending differences between some of our nation’s largest school districts, a sample of wealthy public school districts and three of our most prestigious private schools.

      The prestigious private schools – Phillips Exeter, St. Paul’s and Deerfield Academy – are the American equivalents of Eton and Harrow. Per student expenditure at those schools averages $62,000. Some of this is from tuition, some from the school’s endowment and other sources.

      The wealthy public school districts – Newton, New Trier and Scarsdale – have per student expenditure averages of just under $20,000, less than a third of what the private schools spend.

      Chicago, Los Angeles and Baltimore are large urban districts with all the challenges that go with that. They spend, on average, $12,000 per student, less than one-fifth what private schools spend.

      Phillips Exeter, St. Paul’s and Deerfield Academy have classes that average 11 students (remember this when you hear someone say, “class size doesn’t matter”); student-to-teacher ratios of 5:1, and send their students to Harvard, Columbia, Georgetown, University of Pennsylvania, Yale, Dartmouth, Stanford, Brown, Middlebury, Princeton, Tufts and Amherst.

      Presumably, the parents of the children sent to Phillips Exeter, St. Paul’s and Deerfield Academy know that investing in their children’s futures is worth the price. So it should be for all children in this increasingly inequitable society.

      • Mik says:

        I can give you thousands of examples of public or private schools that spend much less than $12,000 that have highly educated students. You are picking and choosing on the edges to try to prove a point that is all about money. You are wrong. It is all about what goes on at home and in the family that counts. Virtually nothing else matters including how much is spend. This is why the statistics continue to show that. A familiy that values education and has a sense of right and wrong with high expectations will deliver a high performing student regardless of the school, public private, cheap or expensive.

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