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  • D.C. Public Schools Spend Almost $30,000 Per Student

    You would think $30,000 a year would get you a decent education. For just a few thousand more, you could cover the cost of Harvard’s yearly undergraduate tuition or send your child to the prestigious Sidwell Friends School, which the Obama daughters attend.

    But spending $30,000 to cover the cost of a child’s education in a district that has one of the lowest graduation rates in the nation and produces some of the country’s lowest achievement scores? Seems a bit steep. But this is the hefty per-pupil bill taxpayers are made to foot for D.C. public schools every year.

    Despite this astounding price tag—$29,409 for the 2009–2010 school year, to be exact, compared to the national average of just under $12,500 (both figures are total expenditures calculated on a per-pupil basis, including capital outlays)—the graduation rate for D.C. students hovers around 60 percent, well below the nationwide average of 74 percent. Math and reading scores are also among the lowest in the country.

    Andrew Coulson of the Cato Institute, who calculated D.C.’s per-pupil cost, explains that the first time he revealed D.C.’s high per-pupil spending a few years ago, he received considerable pushback. Critics claimed his estimate was too high and was inconsistent with the Census Bureau’s numbers.

    “Indeed, the Census Bureau figures for DC’s total K-12 expenditures were substantially lower than mine,” he explains.

    Why the inconsistency?

    “It turns out, [Census] got [D.C. spending data] from a DCPS [D.C. Public Schools] official,” notes Coulson. “We presented evidence to the Bureau that that DCPS official had missed a few line items when completing the Census Bureau’s forms—to the tune of about $400 million.” Census agreed, and their “data now show DC spent a total of $29,409 per pupil.”

    When it comes to improving education, more spending has failed to achieve results.

    On the other hand, the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (DCOSP), which provides scholarships to low-income students in the nation’s capital to attend private schools of their choice, not only produces significantly higher graduation rates than D.C. public schools but costs significantly less. A DCOSP scholarship stands at just $8,000 for a K-8 student or $12,000 for a 9-12 grade student.

    Children in D.C. and around the nation deserve the best opportunity for academic success, and taxpayers deserve that their dollars be used effectively. Rather than investing more in the same failed approaches, policymakers and local leaders should look to innovative reforms, including school choice, to improve education and give students the brightest hope for a promising future.

    Posted in Education, Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    16 Responses to D.C. Public Schools Spend Almost $30,000 Per Student

    1. It is truly sad that the inner city kids have families that get caught in the welfare trap and then they have to go to subpar schools. The voucher system is the way to go.

    2. Guest says:

      The same failed and expensive Public School systems across America are not much more successful at educating America's children. They are, however, very adept and constistently successful at brainwashing them as to what a "failure" the American system is and indoctrinating them into the Liberal/Socialist idea that the Government is their source of all things.
      There exists strong evidence that the Federal Government's involvement in funding states for "educational purposes" must be stopped and the Federal bureas that are involved, such as the Dep't. of Education, been permanently dissolved. Ecucation is the province of the State, County, and City in which a person attends.

    3. Bruce Hall says:

      In Michigan, the Mackinac Center For Public Policy showed the spending per pupil by school district. It showed that the Detroit schools spent about $19,000 per student while other districts got by on half that. What was more interesting were the results… the graduation rates by district.
      http://hallofrecord.blogspot.com/2012/06/spending

    4. Bobbie says:

      This is just outrageous! For one, how can they accurately assess the cost of a child's education per child when there's 30 of them in a classroom at a time, taught the same thing at the same time? It's only corrupt to price a child individually when they're not taught individually! Two: more money was never the answer when the result led to decreasing the levels of standard achievement and less teacher qualifications. The whole government run public school system is corrupt. According to government paid manipulators in control, more money is suppose to be "for the kids" with no evidence it was ever for the kids! Yet they have the gall to want more only to do more damage! If teachers want to teach they'll do it for less. If administrators want to administrate they'll do it for less during these times of government consequences out of our control and not within our reach. Private schools serve proper education that motivates students ambitions. A child is just an expensive commodity held at ransom in government run, public education.

      • Bobbie says:

        hey you little thumbs down government union tools! Have some dignity and face the truth cause we're not giving up on it EVER! Grow up or get out!

        • BasicMath says:

          For starters –

          "how can they accurately assess the cost of a child's education per child when there's 30 of them in a classroom at a time, taught the same thing at the same time? It's only corrupt to price a child individually when they're not taught individually! "

          Are you ready for the answer? They take total expenditures by the school system, divide it by the number of students in the system, and they get expenditures per student.

          • Bobbie says:

            it's not the math, it's the principle. I use the term "accurately" facetiously because it's expense is without "merit"…

          • Bobbie says:

            my reply from yesterday didn't make it so I'll try again.

            It's not the math. It's the principle. Price the class/course. It's uncivil to put a price on anyone adding unjust when it's on children who've become the "subject of pricing!" although every parent will tell you their child is priceless. So children should remain! That's just disgusting they tag parents' children one price per each instead of the public education taught. Seems extremely criminal! Thank you anyway!

    5. Bruce Hall says:

      In Michigan, the Mackinac Center For Public Policy showed the spending per pupil by school district. It showed that the Detroit schools spent about $19,000 per student while other districts got by on half that. What was more interesting were the results… the graduation rates by district.

    6. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      That's way too much.

    7. Keith Gray says:

      Another example of government run institutions being ineffective, costly, and corrupt. Anyone who thinks more government and government run healthcare is a good thing is simply not paying attention.

    8. O2BMe says:

      Most private schools pay way less per child and do a better job. The Government cannot run anything, it just breeds corruption. Either the parents must take back the schools or the money needs to follow the child to whatever school the parents choose. You notice the children of Government do not attend the public schools in D.C. They don't participate in Obamacare, Social Security, or Medicare either.

    9. Jeanne Stotler says:

      The states had control of schools and D.C.,York and Penna had top rated schools, states like Ala, Fla. were at the bottom, What the Goverment did was make all schools inferior, this was so many poor children could pass the college entrance exams, which were also lowered. Best solution is to raise the bar, make sure that HS grads can actually read, write and do math,let's really teach, make sure History is taught honestly, put shop,home ec back in schools, and trade schools as part of post HS education. And yes private schools spend less and the teach better than pulic schools.

    10. Tom Sullivan says:

      The DC school system is a crime. They should be handing out opportunity scholarships as fast and they can, and apologizing and groveling as they do.

    11. Jim Carlin says:

      This cost descrepancy between inner city and suburban districts is not new. The only change is that the inner city numbers keep growing at a faster rate. I've been on a School Board in the Suburbs where costs were low and test scores were steadily rising. Throwing more money at these public schools is not the answere. There is no accountability and the teachers unions resist accountability at every turn. The only thing that will drive improvement is Competition and that is exactly what Vouchers will do. The Liberals and Teachers always whine about Vouchers but in fact the current Government can do all Just Doesn't Work!

    12. Lou Ascarrunz says:

      Meanwhile, Joe "the plagiarizer" Biden is whipping the teachers unions into a frenzy telling them the GOP hates them. Nearly 40 years since the establishment of the Department of Education, billions of dollars spent on a "standardized, one size fits all" educational model, and a powerful union, here we are: parents who can afford to pull their kids out of public schools are doing so in droves. leaving the ones who can't leave stuck with the trouble makers, gang bangers, and morons who give other kids are hard time if they try to learn and achieve.

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