Why Giving More Money to Public Schools Won’t Produce Better Educational Outcomes

I continue to be amazed by this chart. Its author is Andrew Coulson at the Cato Institute and it shows there is no connection between the level of spending per student (adjusted for infation) and educational outcomes. Basically, real spending per capita has more than doubled since the 1970s and test scores have remained flat.


Coulson links to a Deloitte study showing that the same is true in the U.K. 

What I find strange is that as consumers, we expect to be getting better and better goods and services at a lower price each year. My cell phone, for instance, is getting smaller and also cheaper while performing at a much higher level than the one I had even five years ago. The same is true of most of the things we consume. Why wouldn’t we expect the same improvement when it comes to the supply of government services? And why are people accepting the fact that, at least when it comes to educational outcomes, we are paying more and more for the same level of services than we did in the 1970s?


Veronique de Rugy — Veronique de Rugy is a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

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