NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Money Alone Doesn't Buy a Good Education

January 10, 2003

If money could purchase learning, the Washington, D.C., public schools would be among the nation's elite. Instead, they cling to the bottom rung.

  • D.C. public schools enjoy the third highest spending per pupil in the nation -- at $10,836 annually -- and teachers' salaries rank eighth in the nation.
  • Yet their students score rock bottom nationwide in math and reading for fourth graders -- and in math, reading, and science for eighth-graders.
  • At the same time, Washington's Catholic schools manage to give children -- most of whom are African-American -- a real education for an average of $6,399 per pupil.
  • In D.C.'s Maryland and Virginia suburbs, public school districts showcase some of the nation's highest African-American graduation rates -- and, with the exception of only one district out of six, they do so on per pupil budgets which are well below what is being spent in the District.

Education reform advocates say these realities cry out for a choice program for D.C. schools -- and it is the responsibility of Congress and the Bush administration to waste no time putting it in place.

Source: Editorial, "Money and Class," Wall Street Journal, January 9, 2002.

For text (WSJ subscription required),,SB1042078484835185064-search,00.html


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