More Funding Won’t Solve Public School Problems

From the Cato Institute:

In a study released yesterday by the Goldwater Institute, I analyze the results of their most recent private school survey. Among the other fascinating findings is that public schools spend one-and-a-half times as much per pupil as do private schools. Or, looked at the other way, private schools spend a third less than public schools.

Some other fascinating tidbits:

Teachers make up 72 percent of on-site staff in Arizona’s independent education sector, but less than half of on-site staff in the public sector. In order to match the independent sector’s emphasis on teachers over non-teaching staff, Arizona public schools would have to hire roughly 25,000 more teachers and dismiss 21,210 non-teaching employees.

When teachers’ 9-month salaries are annualized to make them comparable to the 12-month salaries of most other fields, Arizona independent school teachers earned the equivalent of $36,456 in 2004 — about $2,000 less than reporters and correspondents. The 12-month-equivalent salary of the state’s public school teachers was around $60,000, which is more than nuclear technicians, epidemiologists, detectives, and broadcast news analysts. It’s also about 50 percent more than reporters or private school teachers earn.

Meanwhile, only 31.9 percent of Detroit students graduate in four years, according to the first major study in Michigan conducted using a method now mandated by the federal government.

So, how is the Detroit Federation of Teachers dealing with such an unprecedented and serious educational crisis? Are they working to be more efficient and effective with the funds available to them, adapting like the private sector? Not that anyone has noticed. What they are doing in the midst of this catastrophe is fighting wage cuts and protesting competition from charter schools. Never mind being competitive, fostering viable alternatives or allowing parents academic choice, apparently job security and above-market wages for teachers are the really important aspects of public education. How that helps children or lowers the 68% dropout rate though is beyond me.

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