Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Cutting Funding For Education Without Negatively Affecting Student Outcomes

Despite the more than double per pupil expenditure of inflation adjusted tax dollars on k-12 education from 1970 to 2005, there has been little, if any, improvement in student outcomes. Reading, Math levels and high school graduation rates have remained flat and unaffected by the increase in education expenditures.

The above chart is from the September 2008, Heritage Foundation report "Does Spending More on Education Improve Academic Achievement?"

The above chart is from the 2002, Hoover Institution report "Can Money Buy Better Schools?"

The obvious question, during these very difficult fiscal times of state and local finances and large federal budget deficits, is can we significantly cut k-12 per pupil expenditures without negatively affecting student outcomes?

If we can double per pupil outlays without positive impacts on student educational results, can we substantially reduce our education expenses, maybe by even half, without reducing student reading and math scores and without reducing high school graduation rates?

It seems likely.

See also the following, among many others, consistent studies of the lack of any positive relationship between per pupil education outlays and student outcomes, "Spending Increases Don't Improve Student Achievement: Report" and "PUBLIC SCHOOL SPENDING AND STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT: THE CASE OF NEW JERSEY."

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