NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Education Money Is A Terrible Thing To Waste

April 2, 1999

Study after study has confirmed that throwing more money at schools doesn't help students learn. Moreover, empirical evidence delinking funding and test scores is not in short supply.

  • New Jersey led the nation in 1996-97 public school spending at an average of $10,975 per student -- but it came in 39th among the states in average Scholastic Assessment test scores.
  • Washington, D.C., was the second largest spender at $10,384 per student -- and was 50th in average test scores.
  • On the other hand, Minnesota spent only $6,345 per pupil -- but ranked third in average SAT scores.
  • Iowa did even better, spending an average of $6,056 per student -- and coming in first in the nation on student SAT scores.

A Cato Institute study has shown that average tuition for all private schools, elementary and secondary, is $3,116 -- or less than half the cost per pupil in the average public school of $6,857. Meanwhile, private school students make much higher scores on their SATs than their counterparts in public schools.

Source: William Peterson (Heritage Foundation), "Schools: The Medium Is the Message," Investor's Business Daily, April 2, 1999.


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