It’s Not The Money
The New York Times published an op-ed titled “What’s the Matter With Kansas’ Schools?” about legislative efforts to cut funding levels and the legal action that followed. According to the article, as a result of one lawsuit, Kansas will have to increase per-pupil expenditures by 17 percent.
In addition to recycling the tired “What’s the matter with Kansas?” cliche, the piece seems to believe that school funding drives education excellence. The piece concludes:
Kansans rightfully take pride in their strong public school system. But as Kansas goes, so may go the nation. The Kansas Constitution, like those in other states, demands that every child be given the educational opportunity to meet his or her promise. This requires, at a minimum, adequate and suitable school funding. Governor Brownback and legislators must meet the constitutional command and, by so doing, advance the core American value of equal opportunity for all.
My colleague James Shuls has addressed the canard that increasing education spending increases results; it doesn’t. The “worst in the country” Kansas City (Mo.) School District spends more than $16,000 per pupil. Imagine how much better educated The New York Times must think those students are than, say, Kansas’ neighboring (and nationally renowned) Blue Valley Unified School District, which spends an offensively low $7,361 per student.
The Times point would be more effective if there was evidence that the additional spending will help Kansas schools meet the goals the state constitution sets for them. There isn’t any such evidence.