Does More Money Equal Better Educational Outcomes?

On my Facebook a friend mentioned the following: “…and whenever we can pour money into schools and education… shouldn’t we?” He was saying this as if there is a correlation between spending on education and educational outcome. This will be a quick summary of where I see a failing in this correlation, but I will link some sources as I go along that expand on the portion I am quoting. The first up to bat is WINTERY KNIGHT… who makes the point well that spending money has no real world outcome:

National Review reported on data collected in the National Assessment of Educational Progress, which spans all 50 states.

Look:

Comparing educational achievement with per-pupil spending among states also calls into question the value of increasing expenditures. While high-spending Massachusetts had the nation’s highest proficiency scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, low-spending Idaho did very well, too. South Dakota ranks 42nd in per-pupil expenditures but eighth in math performance and ninth in reading. The District of Columbia, meanwhile, with the nation’s highest per-pupil expenditures ($15,511 in 2007), scores dead last in achievement.

The student test scores are dead last, but National Review notes that “according to the National Center for Education Statistics, Washington, D.C. was spending an average of $27,460 per pupil in 2014, the most recent year for which data are available.” They are spending the most per-pupil, but their test scores are dead last.

CBS News reported on another recent study confirming this:

Decades of increased taxpayer spending per student in U.S. public schools has not improved student or school outcomes from that education, and a new study finds that throwing money at the system is simply not tied to academic improvements.

The study from the CATO Institute shows that American student performance has remained poor, and has actually declined in mathematics and verbal skills, despite per-student spending tripling nationwide over the same 40-year period.

“The takeaway from this study is that what we’ve done over the past 40 years hasn’t worked,” Andrew Coulson, director of the Center For Educational Freedom at the CATO Institute, told Watchdog.org. “The average performance change nationwide has declined 3 percent in mathematical and verbal skills. Moreover, there’s been no relationship, effectively, between spending and academic outcomes.”

The study, “State Education Trends: Academic Performance and Spending over the Past 40 Years,” analyzed how billions of increased taxpayer dollars, combined with the number of school employees nearly doubling since 1970, to produce stagnant or declining academic results.

“The performance of 17-year-olds has been essentially stagnant across all subjects despite a near tripling of the inflation-adjusted cost of putting a child through the K-12 system,” writes Coulson.

In another WINTERY KNIGHT and FEDERALIST article, CATO INSTITUTE is quoted from…

As Figure 1 illustrates, on a per-pupil basis inflation-adjusted federal spending on K-12 education has grown immensely over the last several decades, ballooning to 375 percent of its 1970 value by 2010. And this increase did not just compensate for funding losses in at the state and local levels. As Figure 2 shows, overall per-pupil expenditures through high school graduation have nearly tripled since 1970. Meanwhile, mathematics, reading, and science scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress — the federal testing regime often called “The Nation’s Report Card” — have been almost completely stagnant for 17-year-olds, the “final products” of our elementary and secondary education system.

In fact, with the Department of Education, schooling was promised to improve… it has not. The Foundation For Economic Education lists 7 Ways the Department of Education Made College Worse…. not to mention the Department forces boys into girls locker-rooms. But these issue are not in our purview today… money is. Besides noting the lackluster outcomes of the states that get the most money for education, when comparing per-pupil spending by country, America spends the most:

And really, you could throw all the money in the world at these schools and because of policies. For instance, a new law in California makes it impossible to have order in the classroom… HOT AIR:

It is will soon be illegal in California for both public and charter schools to suspend disruptive students from kindergarten through eighth grade

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday signed into law Senate Bill 419, which permanently prohibits willful defiance suspensions in grades four and five. It also bans such suspensions in grades six through eight for five years. The law goes into effect July 1, 2020.

A previous law had already banned schools from suspending defiant kids through third grade.

[….]

And where does this road lead? Take a look at Baltimore. Students have been physically attacking teachers and other administrative staff, with some of them being sent to the hospital. We’re not just talking about high school, either. It’s going on in middle school, the same age group this new California law will apply to. And it’s happening in other cities as well.

Before things reach that level, the school needs a more drastic way to restore order and send a message stronger than just detention. Suspending a student puts the problem squarely in the view of the parents. Now they may be missing work or having to arrange extra childcare during the weekdays. When the consequences of the bad behavior land in the parents’ laps instead of the teachers, it may inspire them to get involved and bring their out-of-control brats into line.

Way to go, California. As if it wasn’t hard enough being a teacher as it is.

In a post of my own discussing classroom size, I note the difference in today’s students and the ones of the measurable past, and if the Dept of Education and other laws tying the hands of educators is helping or hurting this stark example:

occasionally, something comes along that hits the nail harder than I do (Meridian Star, 4/21/16).

I read that in a survey of public school teachers in 1940, the top disciplinary problems listed included talking out of turn, chewing gum, running in the halls, dress-code violations, and littering. More than a half century later, the problems teachers contend with are drug and alcohol abuse, pregnancy, suicide, rape, robbery, and assault. Teachers and administrators say that things are worse for students now than ever before. One junior high school teacher commented, “I can’t believe the things they do to themselves and to each other.” A kindergarten teacher recently told me that her five and six year old students are restless, angry, and some even have the addictive habit of cutting themselves. A grandmother told me that her grandson, whom she is raising, has admitted to having suicidal thoughts. He is ten years old.

What a comparison. What teacher today wouldn’t fall on her knees and shout Hosannas to have the problems teachers did in 1940? “Andy, is that gum in your mouth?” “Yes, teacher.” “Go to the principal’s office!” Can anyone even imagine?

(RELIGIO-POLITICAL TALK)

One can get another myth somewhat dislodged in the famous Matt Damon “schooling” of a reporter — see my post: “Did Matt Damon “School” This Reporter?” But here is another excerpt I noted by an outing after work one-day a few years back:

I was feeling the steak salad at TILT THE KILT, so I grabbed my newest copy of THE CITY JOURNAL and a book I am reading “Contradict: They Can’t All Be True,” and headed over. I must look like a COMPLETE idiot as I have my faced buried in either of the two… just glancing up to see if there is a change of score in the Blackhawks game (the only thing good to come out of Chicago… that and it’s school of economics [back-in-the-day]). Some good articles in the City Journal this time around. One was so interesting that I scanned a bit of it for others to read.

[….]

So you know, UFT stands for United Federation of Teachers, and is the largest teacher union in New York. Here is a portion of the article:

The UFT has been especially effective because, unlike other interest groups in the city, it gets two bites at the apple—through collective bargaining and through politics. Three structural features of the collective bargaining process skew in the UFT’s favor. First, even in the best-case scenario, in which the city fights for the children’s interests and the union battles to protect its teachers, the result would be something in between—that is, an outcome not fully in the interest of students. Second, the city is a near-monopoly provider of education. Absence of competition reduces pressure on the city to drive a hard bargain with the UFT, while lessening incentives for the union to moderate its demands. Third, the UFT contributes cash and campaign assistance to the politicians with whom it negotiates. To the extent that the UFT backs winners, the union ends up on both sides of the bargaining table. Consequently, negotiated outcomes favor the UFT over time.The United Teachers Federation (UFT) represent most of New York’s public schools, so you understand the acronym below:

In the political arena, no group in New York City can rival the UFT’s manpower and money. Most of its 116,000 members hold college and graduate degrees, making them more likely to be politically active. The union also collects huge sums in dues, which are automatically deducted from members’ paychecks. Each UFT member pays, on average, approximately $600 a year in union dues, bringing the union’s annual revenues to about $70 million—much of it reserved for paying union officials’ salaries, contributions to state and national federations, rent for office space, and the costs of collective bargaining. The UFT also maintains a Committee on Political Education, sponsored by members who voluntarily donate anywhere from 50 cents to ten dollars out of their biweekly paycheck for explicitly political purposes. The fund hauls in more than $10 million a year, about $3 million of which goes for lobbying and protests.

Thanks to its massive war chest, the UFT has become the Democratic Party’s largest underwriter in New York City and State. (It is also a major donor to the left-wing Working Fam­ilies Party.) Over the last two years, the union has given $1.7 million to city council candidates—all Democrats. According to the National Institute for Money in State Politics, in 2012 (as in most years before and since), the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), largely a state-level extension of the UFT, was the Empire State’s big­gest contributor to candidates and parties in state politics. Seventy-nine percent of the NYSUT’s S1.2 million in contributions went to Democrats.

In his book Special Interest, Stanford University political scientist Terry Moe found that from 2000 to 2009, teachers’ unions’ cam­paign contributions exceeded those of all other business associations in New York State combined by a ratio of five to one. And most business groups don’t try to influence education policy so single-mindedly.

The UFT and the Democratic Party in New York are intertwined in other ways. For ex­ample, the union provides office space—next door to its headquarters at 50 Broadway in Manhattan—to the State Senate Democratic Campaign Committee. Then—UFT president Randi Weingarten served as cochair of Hillary Clinton’s 2000 senate campaign. Not surpris­ingly, during the 2008 Democratic presidential primaries, Senator Clinton dismissed the idea of teacher-merit pay as disruptive. A revolving door of consultants, campaign operatives, and lobbyists connects the UFT and the campaign staffs of state legislators and city council mem­bers. Many liberal interest groups in the city—such as Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, 1199 SEIU Healthcare Workers East, and other public-employee unions—are, for the most part, UFT allies. The union also helps fund other ad­vocacy organizations, such as U.S. Action and the NAACP, and think tanks, such as Demos and the Economic Policy Institute, whose loy­alty it can rely on in a pinch.

The UFT’s membership constitutes the larg­est single voting bloc in mayoral elections. And because teachers and school paraprofessionals live in all parts of the city, they can be decisive in low-turnout city council races. The UFT’s get-­out-the-vote operation is rivaled only by its ally, SEIU 1199. In 2013, de Blasio was elected mayor with just 752,604 votes in a city of 8.4 million people. Fully 42 percent of voters said that they belonged to a union household.

The UFT also spends millions each year lob­bying city council members and state legisla‑tors. According to the New York State Ethics Commission, the union spent $1.86 million in Albany in 2012. And the New York Public Interest Research Group re­ports that the NYSUT, to which the UFT contributes substantial revenues, was the state’s second-biggest lobby­ing spender in 2010, plunking down $4.7 million. (The Healthcare Education Project, a vehicle of SEIU 1199 and the Greater New York Hospital Association, was first.)

The UFT’s extensive political activities en­sure that the school system continues to serve the needs of teachers first. The union’s enduring objectives—better pay, benefits, and job protec­tions for its members—are divorced from issues of student achievement, as New York’s declin­ing school performance since the unionization of teachers in the 1960s makes clear. By 1990, nearly 40 percent of freshmen entering high school had been held back in earlier grades, while 23 percent of students dropped out of school altogether. In 1994, only 44 percent of students graduated from high school in four years. Only one in three third-graders could read at or above grade level in 1997….

[….]

All this spending means that the New York City school system now lays out $20,226 per pupil — double the national average of $10,608 — based on census data released in May 2014.

Daniel DiSalvo, The Union That Devoured Education Reform, The City Journal (Autumn 2014), 12-13, 16.

And all the money will not fix stupidity in the teacher unions and how they are destroying education:

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