Education Needs More Money, STAT!
If you believe the popular media outlets, Missouri schools are in dire need of more cash. They claim that Missouri is under-funding education and that our state ranks low in comparisons of education spending. If we would just get with the program and give schools more cash, we will reap the rewards. It is true that our state lawmakers are not fully funding the foundation formula for public schools. On principle, they should fully fund the formula, but I’m not convinced that fully funding the formula would really lead to better results for students.
As I have written on the Show-Me Daily blog, “Since 1992, Missouri has seen nearly a 40 percent increase in per-pupil spending. Yet we have seen little in terms of increases in academic achievement.”
A new study by Andrew Coulson, of the Cato Institute, adds more evidence to support this claim. Using school funding data and student scores from the SAT, he compared the increase in spending with changes in SAT scores for the past 40 years. Before anyone complains that most Missourians don’t take the SAT, it is important to note that Coulson takes this into account and uses statistical procedures to account for the different types of students who have taken the SAT.
He demonstrates that education funding has increase precipitously, while SAT scores have remained relatively flat.
Whether looking at the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), as I did in my previous post, or the SAT, it is clear that student achievement has practically flat-lined. Evidence from the past four decades suggests that money alone will not cure these ills.