Thursday, July 03, 2008

Public education spending in the US

Via Marginal Revolution we get from Brad Delong...

The true history of the U.S. since 1980 ....

1. The end of the Cold War

2. Other winner-take-all factors that have, in combination with education, pushed American income polarization back to Gilded Age levels.

3. The failure of American taxpayers to support their state and local governments in expanding funding for public education -- and the impact of reduced public education effort in sharpening the distinction between rich and poor...

Let's quantify this failure of American taxpayers to support funding for public education since 1980. From the National Center for Education Statistics we learn ...

Current expenditure per pupil in fall enrollment in public elementary and secondary schools:

school year .... 2007 dollars

1980-81 .... $5,438
2004-05 .... $9,266 +70%
So a 70% increase in real funding per student over 24 years is "the failure of the American taxpayers to support ... expanding funding for public education".

One can hurl a lot of damning critcisms at how the public schools are run in this country -- but failure to expand funding is not one of them.

Seeing it anyhow seems about par for the course over there at DeLong's over the last few years, which is why I learn what little I do about what he writes these days only from other people's blogs, which is a loss considering how good DeLong's blog was when he started it.

The motto he's adopted since then is "Grasping reality with both hands". Maybe he does -- but that sure doesn't keep it from squirting out between his fingers!

My personal belief is that when a person is good at grasping reality you'll recognize that fact for yourself without anyone telling you. While when a person feels compelled to proclaim to you in a loud voice and big block letters that he grasps reality....
"The paradox of urban school reform is the steady increase in education cost per pupil with no increase in student outcomes."
-- Robert Sarrel, Ed. D., Director of Budget Allocation, New York City Board of Education
Never let the left, Democrats, or DeLong ever trouble themselves to consider such a thing. After all, how much does the failure of public education as a cause of "sharpening the distinction between rich and poor" really matter to them, anyhow?