Robert Winner

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Is there a correlation between per student spending and educational results.

Experts agree that the drop in educational spending per student was driven more by harsh economic realities rather than ideological preferences. In the coming years more education funding is likely to be allocated to teacher pensions and health care benefits, potentially leaving less for classroom instruction.

Paul E. Peterson, director of Harvard University’s program on education policy and governance, said his data has shown a very small positive correlation between how much is spent per student and how well they do.

“It’s costing us a lot more, but are we getting anything out of it? That’s the question,” he said.

Was education more effective prior to President Carter making Ed a Cabnet Post and the money flowing to Washington instead of the districts and the students?

  • May 28 2013: The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America - Author Charlotte Iserbyt is the ultimate whistle blower. As former Senior Policy Advisor in the U.S. Department of Education, she blew the whistle in the `80s on government activities withheld from the public. Here is a book written by the horses-mouth an insider. Read, Dissect, Learn, Grow and improve the living experience. The Simple are Passed by!
  • May 28 2013: When the research is done, the answer is that "Yes", education was more effective prior to it being encapsulated in a government agencies. Why? Well, because any segment of our society that is put inside the box of centralized government agency is automatically sabotaged by the costs to maintain the agency. When needs in our society are kept at a local level they are better served. Why? Because each community is an organism in itself and we are better served by a group of peers that are keen to us. When the research is done, processes managed by centralized agencies are the worst possible solution, because they have no first hand knowledge of our local needs and the process is unattached, lacking sensitivities and inept. Our Country was better off before this misguided Cabinet Post.
    • Jun 22 2013: I basically agree but have also experienced the opposite. I.E. I was once living in a community where the only available jobs were in carpentry (building homes, boats etc.) or fishing. Thus, anything related to those 2 careers got top priority within the school systems. Children were even allowed periods of NOT having to go to school if they could prove they were needed at home to help sustain the famly economically. It wasn't until the Feds became involved that education became mandatory and all subjects were taught so these youths could go outside their districts to obtain jobs. But there is no doubt that the Feds have usurped far too much power and control; now they cause stagnation.
  • Jun 22 2013: The way that the money is currently distributed and used for education there is very little correlation between the amount of money spent on each student and the opportunities for success that the student will have. Much of the money for education now goes towards technological advancements for the classroom which is indeed important however, it does not need to be excessive and it certainly does not need to be a priority. Many of the spending going on in public schools ends up being extremely wasteful because of the restrictions placed upon the ways in in what time period it can be spent.

    The best way to improve education through spending would be to use that money to be able to offer teachers a higher salary so that there could be enough money to hire only the most qualified people to educate our youth.
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      Jun 22 2013: Madelyn, I am not going to disagree with you but for the sake of discussion .... If we could agree that the power in education is the textbook writers and the test developers ... then investing the money in teachers raises may not be the best way to improve education. To support this I submit that the options have been taken away from the teachers and a strict adherence to a programed daily schedule provided by the textbook publisher is a requirement to cover the items necessary to excell on the high stakes tests that are required. So we teach the test.

      Even while the teachers are NOT getting raises and even being layed off .... administrators are getting raises and perks. State and federal mandates determine the direction and funding. STEM is the ONLY thing being considered and at the expense of other areas. The reason being that the USA was blown away in the PISA exams and we suffered a national brused EGO. This is a bandage where a tourniquet is required. To resolve the existing problems a total evaluation of the educational system must take place. After which a "best" direction is decided upon the best use of existing funds can be redirected.

      None of this can occur under the current system of education being driven from the top (federal level). Of all the decision makers in education .... none are teachers .... they are Secretary of ED, senators, representatives, etc .... lawyers and politicians. Just because they went to school does not make them teachers or experts in the field.

      I agree with you that money does not ensure success.

      Sorry for the soapbox .... I wish you well. Bob.
      • Jun 22 2013: Bob,
        I agree with you that it is a waste of taxpayers money (from both the school district tax and federal tax for the Dept of Ed) on those ed administrative agencies lavish pay and the wasted use of ed funding to schools and the teaching materials.
        I have a serious misgiving on the "text writers and test developers" in the current system. As you probably heard that the governments are gradually taking over most of the textbook writing as well as the course schedule for students in K-12 grades. Recently there has been a "common core" program that the ed administration invited a group of "experts" to write teaching materials for most grades and all the participating states to adopt the common core materials as the textbooks for the students. By that setup, the test developers would be bound by this core contents to develop the test questions. In other word, now the governments (both federal and states) are going to dictate WHAT TO TEACH AND HOW TO TEST" for most of the students. Just recently, the authority also decided to delay the teaching of Algebra I to 9th grade instead the 8th for all schools.
        The standards of 'how well the students do" actually had a dual test scores. One is the tests given by the U. S. Ed Authority here which would be made according what are taught in our government defined education level here. The other is, of course, the PISA tests for the international standard. So our internal test might show some "improvement" throughout the recent years. The results from the PISA test have been dismal.
        We could also compare the teachers' pay between S. Korea and the U. S. The Korean teachers are paid slightly better than that of the US counter part, but they have slightly higher # of students per class, so that the cost of teachers is probably quite even. However, the indirect expense on the bureaucratic administrative functions here is at least twice as much as for the Koreans. The teachers there have much more respect from the students as well.
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          Jun 22 2013: Arne Duncan makes no pretense about the socialization of the education system. For 5 years he has said what he wants and now through Core and STEM as the spears he is accompl;ishing the goal of socialization. I do defend that CURRENTLY the text publishers and the test developers tell the system where we are going and how. The feds want tht exclusive power .... I am not for sure either is a good idea.

          South Korea has always scored well in head to head testing .. true. They are well compensated ... true. However, in the #1 country Singapore the teachers are on a government scale ... they also have student respect and parental support ... the pay there is not so sterling.

          We are on the same page.
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    Jun 16 2013: Great question. I have to laugh at the quote:

    "a very small positive correlation between how much is spent per student and how well they do."

    We don't even know what "well" means and when education is successful or not. While everyone may agree with the overall goal of education on a high level, quantifying that is a very complicated issue which has arguably not been solved. Therefore, to do a calculation (spending vs "how well they do") when one of the factors (i.e. "how well they do") is dubious is all the more dubious.
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    May 27 2013: Not sure how relevant this is. Yet it could be a "self-fulfilling prophecy" (or a placebo) in the way more money is spent on you the more likely you are to work harder (or feel privileged, and come from a wealthier background). Thus increases the educational results you achieve. It is worth mentioning that this is pure speculation on my part!
    However the more money you spend on a student the more access they will have to certain things (e.g Textbooks) and under the right conditions (Good teachers) then the student will flourish. In other words if you light the students passion ("Flow" + "Intrinsic motivation"), the student with the sufficient material will do academically very well.
    Yet I am uncertain as to whether funding (in schools) is actually the problem. As to whether it is something more psychological, as mentioned the motivational levels of the students (or the fact that there is a "stereotype threat").
    So yes in conclusion, I would conclude it is more correlation not causation. May be wrong though, considering I don't know much about this area!
    Hope I helped,
    Bernard.
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    May 27 2013: Results may increase by more spending but what wouldn't? The increase in spending does not parallel the performance.

    Here is an article that none of you will read that explains

    http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2008/09/does-spending-more-on-education-improve-academic-achievement

    The question is why does the government force people to send their children to attend public indoctrination centers. You might say they are not forced? But they do through taxes which are not transferable.
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        May 27 2013: You bet your ass

        "If you consider public schools indoctrination centers what do you call religious schools ?"

        A choice

        "The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion"

        Yet they take money by force, that cannot be used for a non secular education, WTF that is forcing a choice regarding religion.
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        May 27 2013: Why is it ok for the government to use force to tell you how you get educated?
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        May 27 2013: You are forced by taxes to use the school that the government collective decides is condoned.

        I choose to use my 1st amendment rights to talk about this. You have already expressed your willingness to censor me on this. Why do you also condone the use of force?
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        May 27 2013: If I want to stay I am forced to the will of the majority. If I do no wish to abide than I am forced to leave. Why do you condone the government to use force on areas that would be different if no force was used?

        If all taxes are included at least 50% of your life you are forced into enslavement to the majority.

        How different is this than the Iranian who was talking about creating more freedom in his country?

        You expressed your disdain for the Heritage House which is fine and I expressed by disdain to your lack of respect for the Heritage House. Incidentally the POTUS is accused of using that sort of mentality to attack his political enemies. I also expressed my disdain for your cavalier attitude towards the government using force by saying WTF.

        Why do you condone the use of force by the government? Either by forcing you to leave or forcing you into enslavement for education? There is nothing in the constitution about this.
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        May 28 2013: To paraphrase and cut through the crap, you are advocating force.

        This country would be completely different if force was not used.

        Spare me your conjecture it is moronic.
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        May 28 2013: Just to be clear LaMar is advocating the use of force by the government.
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        May 28 2013: I ain't lying boy.
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        May 28 2013: The government is forcing people people to pay for schools they would they would not choose or putting them in jail.

        You have stated this over and over, you just won't use the word force but it sure as hell is force.
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        May 28 2013: This is like talking to a parrot

        If the government did not use force in education, housing, healthcare, student loans, construction, bonds, money supply, welfare,food stamps, etc. etc.

        There would have been no dumb students, a housing bubble, healthcare bubble and a much lower cost, students with out huge debt and actual jobs when they graduated, lower construction cost because of no Davis Bacon, no inflation, bonds that were a normal interest rate so the FED would not have to print money like it is Weimar, the immigration problem would be greatly alleviated because the government would not force taxpayers to give money to illegal immigrants, the government would not force people to be on welfare into perpetuity because they have been out of the job market for too long, etc, etc

        That is because of government force period.

        I will not respond too any more of your comments.
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          May 28 2013: you just need to get used to doublethink. if you do not want the government to take care of things, you refuse personal responsibility. it is zen.
        • Jun 22 2013: I think perhaps your disagreement with Pat lies not in a misunderstanding as much as with definition. You are speaking of a Democracy, whereas Pat may be hinting that he believes we are now living under a plutocratic form of government. Perhaps that is where your disagreements lie?
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        May 28 2013: Indeed, however if allowed to continue imo has a 8 in 10 chance of imploding.
    • May 28 2013: Public Schools by proven record are not center of critical thinking. They are places where children are learning to be followers, and the leaders are sanctioned. The public school experience today is nothing like it was in the 40's, 50's and 60's. Have you ever looked at the curriculum used in those decades; they are light years more advance that what it is being teached today. Just a couple of days ago a teacher was sanction for teaching students about their First Amendment Right. If we really care about our children, our country our society we must stop being naive about the state of the public school experience. Read the Chasm by Edward Griffin, not just read that paper, but dissect it. The Simple Are Passed by.
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        May 28 2013: That's an interesting observation. My kids' education in urban public school in the early part of this century was definitely more rigorous than mine in the fifties and sixties. Do you have a link to reliable evidence/research that makes a general comparison?
        • May 29 2013: Hence, my point. Since the early 1900's there has been a movement to dumb down Americans so that they can lose their liberties and natural rights, because an uneducated nation is a lost nation. In my early twenties, I used to discuss with my friends that the fall of any great society comes by a massive influx of ignorance (Rome, being a notable historical example.) and I concluded that the U.S. would be overtaken by ignorance and its fall would be inevitable. In Rome the ignorance come from outside its society; in the U.S. the fall is in action, right now, through internal ignorance. Massive amounts of immigrants don't even know that we are suppose to be the nation govern by the States and not governed by a Central Government. When a thirteen year old doesn't thinks that the reason for the 4th of July is a day for a picnic, and doesn't know that is the celebration of an epic event, the freeing of a society from another much more powerful one; that it is about our freedoms. Then the fall is inevitable. Who do we have to thank for this massive ignorance? The public school system that does not enlighten, but rather steels the knowledge of our Constitution, Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence. I was born in a foreign country; when asked, what makes me American. I say, it is not the color of my skin, the accent in my voice, the food I eat. What makes me American is The Constitution, The Bill of Rights and The Declaration of Independence that ensure my natural rights and not government right. Most Americans, even the very well educated, have no point of reference, they have never experienced a society without natural rights; so in their brilliance they bash the most outstanding society ever given to men; The United States! This doesn't mean we are a perfect nation, but we were better than the rest; regrettably soon we will be another Banana Republic that is subject to the rights of the State, rather than our natural rights as human being.
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          May 30 2013: What she said.
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        May 29 2013: Katharine

        The article I linked above pushes for school choice. They indicate the test scores have remained flat for the last 3 decades while at the same time spending has doubled or tripled one of the most egregious was Detroit with spending in excess of 11k per student (I question the veracity of that number) with a dropout rate in excess of 50%. The main thing they question is how little of the money is actually used in the classroom they said 52% is spent outside of the classroom.

        The main thing I see is that education like housing is being artificially propped up. There cannot be a recovery of either until they are allowed to fail. Then the market will find the real value of an education and build value from that point.

        For example if 50% of the kids want to drop out then let them, if they are committing crimes put them to work at hard labor. Get rid of the minimum wage which would allow work to be moved to Detroit at a price that would compete with China. At this point me thinks people would have a different take on the value of an education?
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      May 27 2013: I read your attached reference and it did not state these schools have the worst test scores or highest drop out rates ... some were even mid level. The article rated schools on a number of factors and were given grades based on administrative and other factors (explained in the write ups included.) Please re-read.

      Please provide references for your assumptions. Paul E. Peterson of Harvard disagrees with your findings.

      The two worst systems in the US rate among the highest PPE .. Washington DC ($28,170 PPE) and the BIA system ($24,531 PPE).

      As to your usual opening attacks ... if you disagree with the conversation please fee free to contact TED (again) and ask them why they allowed the conversation. Directing such comments to me serves no purpose.
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    May 26 2013: Thank you for sharing Peterson's results. The question has been asked often over the decades, and analysis of data is probably the most reliable way of getting to the bottom of the question. Anecdotal impressions have more bias in them, either of a nostalgic sort or the reverse.