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More education spending and more teachers = same results

February 20, 2012

Andrew J. Coulson at pointed out in a June 2010 article that despite skyrocketing education spending in the U.S. over the past several decades, student achievement has been stagnant.

“Over the past forty years, public school employment has risen 10 times faster than enrollment,” Coulson writes.

“If you graduated from high school in 1980, your entire K-12 education cost your fellow taxpayers about $75,000, in 2009 dollars. But the graduating class of 2009 had roughly twice that amount lavished on their public school careers. The extra $75,000 we’re now spending has done wonders for public school employee union membership, dues revenue, and political clout. It’s done a whole lotta nothin’ for student learning,” Coulson writes.

According to Coulson, “about two thirds of public school employment growth has been teachers (41 percent) or teachers’ aides (23 percent). The remaining third was comprised almost entirely of support staff in schools and district offices.”

Coulson concludes: “given that adding a couple of million new instructional jobs did nothing to improve achievement at the end of high school, there’s no reason to expect that shedding a few hundred thousand of them would hurt it.”

Perhaps those advocating for the school override in Walpole this year would be interested to read Coulson’s article.

I thought this chart was particularly telling and provides us with all the information we really need to know:

Costs of K-12 education

One Comment leave one →
  1. Danielle permalink
    March 16, 2012 5:43 PM

    It would be interesting to see the cost increase of housing, automobiles, food, etc over those years as well.

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