Friday, December 10, 2010

Quote of the Day

Don't miss Andrew Rotherham's latest piece in Time Magazine regarding school funding's "lack of attention to productivity, i.e., thinking about outputs (student learning) in relation to inputs (spending). In education circles, productivity is a four-letter word. Cost and benefits? Never heard of 'em!"
In 1970 America spent about $228 billion in today's dollars on public schools. In 2007 that figure was $583 billion. True, some of the increase can be traced back to growing enrollments, better programs, and improved services for special-education and other students, but much of the increase is just a lot of spending without a lot to show for it. And given all the various pressures on state budgets (including our aging population, health care costs and the substantial obligations states and school districts owe for pensions and benefits), the golden age of school spending is likely coming to an end.



1 comment:

kallikak said...

"True, some of the increase can be traced back to growing enrollments, better programs, and improved services for special-education and other students, but much of the increase is just a lot of spending without a lot to show for it."

Maybe a little more than "some", Andy.

A few observations from a product of public education in the '50s and '60s:

1) The U.S. population has grown by 100 million people since 1970.

2) Special Ed--which essentially did not exist before 1970--has exploded into a very expensive cottage industry (especially in NJ!).

3) Activist legislatures have voted numerous unfunded mandates upon local school districts.

4) Teachers are now paid more than semi-skilled blue-collar workers.

5) The economic/social divide between rich and poor has widened dramatically.

Does public education represent the "value proposition" it did in 1967 (when I walked out the door)?

Not to my eyes. But I'm not seeing much from the so-called "reformers" that suggests better days ahead.