Liberal groups like The Center for American Progress routinely put out videos … denouncing the “underfunding of K-12 schools” that call for more and more money to be spent….What gets my goat is the demonstrably false idea that schools are being starved for resources. Tax revenue per student in public K-12 schools is up 24 percent nationally over the past two decades, and that takes inflation into account.
In New York, where I live, real per-pupil revenue has increased by a mind-boggling 68 percent between 2002 and 2019. Public schools in the Empire State are now shelling out more than $30,000 per kid. That’s more than double the national average, and it doesn’t even include the $16 billion extra that New York’s system got in combined federal and state COVID-19 relief funding.
Yet New York’s public schools are still [often] terrible….with only a third or fewer of students up to grade level in eighth grade reading and math….$30,000 a year puts the lie to the argument pushed by unions and progressives that more money will fix schools. More money hasn’t helped the rest of the country boost their scores either. According to NAEP, whatever minor improvements in reading and math that were made for students ages 9 and 13 since the early 1970s have flattened since the early 2000s. We’re paying more for the same results. None of this is a mystery. The connection between bigger spending and good outcomes is weak at best, whether we’re talking about comparisons among U.S. states or international ones.
According to a report …. overall teacher compensation is way up in New York, especially when it comes to benefits like health insurance and pensions, which have grown by 147 percent. Nationwide, a dozen states increased spending on benefits for teachers by over 100 percent and only three states kept the increase below 10 percent. Costs for things like administration, support staff, and transportation are up another 24 percent. Just to reiterate: All these figures are adjusted for inflation….Dumping more money into a broken system is like trying to fix a leaky pipe by pouring more water into it.
He says more competition in education is the solution, as charter schools and private schools demonstrate by outperforming public schools despite receiving less funding per student. Unlike most public schools, charter schools “must attract and keep students in order to stay in business….The best charters have massive wait lists even though they get less money per student than traditional public schools. Charters in New York City, for instance, get about 20 percent fewer dollars per kid than typical public schools. But instead of expanding the number of charters, New York, like most states, caps it. According to the state’s official data, there are just 359 charters compared to 4,411 public schools.”