American Education

Our public school establishment has grown enormously over the last two-and-a-half generations, even as the public school student population has grown not so much, and public school performance as measured by student testing performance has not improved a single minim. The graph gives, as of 2017, the total change of the indicated personnel and student populations; you can see the changes year-by-year here [there’s a replay button at the top of that graph].

Mark Perry put his conclusion succinctly:

Bottom Line: Despite the significant increase between 1970 and 2017 in the number of public school teachers (57%) and non-teaching staff (151%) relative to the 10.4% increase in students, the significant 30% decrease in the pupil-to-[teacher] ratio in public schools and the significant 154% increase in inflation-adjusted spending per pupil attending public schools over that period, there was basically no change in academic achievement. More spending + more teachers + more administrators + no change in education outcomes = a failing public school monopoly that benefits entrenched unionized teachers who vigorously try to squash competition from charter schools and educational choice at the expense of taxpayers, parents, and students.

What he said.

Which puts a premium on two distinct, but each necessary, actions: defanging the teachers unions and expanding parental access to schooling alternatives like voucher schools and charter schools.

Critical to that second item is this: per-student school funding via taxpayer monies needs to stop being school funding and be transformed into student funding: the monies need to accompany the student to the school the parents select for him. If the parents choose home-schooling as their alternative, they should get, in lieu of full-up per-student funding, an allowance to cover teaching material and supply expenses. And, conditioned on performance on State-mandated testing, a serious honorarium for their teacher labor, with the allowance plus honorarium not exceeding the per-student funding rate.

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