NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

More Spending Does Not Improve Education

June 22, 2015

Have we hit a wall where more spending on traditional public schools will not lead to improved student learning? Applying commonly-accepted statistical tools to the state of Wisconsin, results show this may be the case. Like the United States, Wisconsin has spent more on public schools but has not gotten more for this investment.

  • In the United States, since 1966, per-student spending in constant dollars on public education has increased by 300 percent.
  • In 2011, the United States spent $11,841 for every student enrolled in traditional primary and secondary public schools. This amount is 5th highest among all countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and $2,973 per pupil higher than the OECD average.

Yet, despite these expenditures, the United States has failed to create a world-class education system. Among OECD countries:

  • The United States ranks 27th in math, 17th in reading, and 20th in science. Less than one-third of all U.S. students are proficient in math and reading.
  • The United States also struggles to educate poor children. More than half of the OECD countries had higher portions of resilient children, poor children who manage to perform in the top quartile of students in OECD countries, than the United States.

For years, many policymakers declare victory after instinctively throwing money at the traditional public school system, with little evaluation as to whether children are actually learning.

Source: CJ Szafir and Marktin Luekin, "More Spending Doesn't Lead To Improved Student Learning," Forbes, May 8, 2015. 

 

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