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The Bottom Line More Money Can’t Solve the K-12 Education Crisis

Originally published at The American Spectator

Money can’t buy happiness. Nor can pumping excessive money into our K-12 public education system buy student achievement. But the U.S. government is fixated with the insane cycle of spending more of your tax money on K-12 public education without improving student learning.

First, in March 2020, Congress passed the CARES Act, giving K-12 schools $13.2 billion. Then, in December 2020 came the HEROES Act, granting schools another $58 billion. Three months later, in March 2021, the American Rescue Act pumped in an almost unbelievable $130 billion more.

Gone are the days of teaching children that money doesn’t grow on trees. Instead, they are witnessing money printed on demand by our governmental leaders.

Keri D. Ingraham

Run the numbers and you’ll find that the $201.2 billion amounts to $3,960 of extra funding per K-12 public school student — above the $15,000 the government already spends. You would think all that money would significantly improve learning for our kids. But in reality, very little of that money will trickle down to the individual student to improve his or her experience and education. In other words, it is a bureaucratic boondoggling.

How can this be? Many in government live under the delusion that money is the answer to every educational deficiency. The U.S. outspends nearly every other country in the world on its K-12 education system, and in constant dollars spending has tripled since the 1970s.

But what has all of that money bought us? Not a lot. Education performance has flatlined. Our kids don’t read as well as they should, they often can’t write cogent sentences, and as for mathematics and science, the results are dismal. Among other developed nations, U.S. students pitifully place 26th overall. When it comes to performance by subject, our students fall 17th in reading, 23rd in science, and 33rd in math.

And we never learn the lesson. No matter how many times more money is poured into the K-12 public education system without any meaningful increase in student achievement, the cycle is replayed. Over and over again.

Why hasn’t our generous funding resulted in the desired results?

Continue Reading at The American Spectator
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The American Center for Transforming Education is a program of Discovery Institute, a non-profit organization fueled by its supporters. Will you help us advance the timely and vital work of transforming our K-12 education system so that it better serves students and their families?