Education Monopolies: Money Down the Drain

Deborah Thornton, a research analyst at the Public Interest Institute in Mt. Pleasant, IA, pointed out in a guest post at Caffeinated Thoughts that even though education spending has increased dramatically over the last 20 years, results have not.  Thornton writes:

For example, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in 2007 reported that 12th grade reading achievement nationwide had declined from 1992 to 2005, by four points (292 to 288).  The percent of students scoring at or above “proficient” was 38 percent, a flat score.  The percent scoring at or above “basic,” was actually lower than in 1992.

The 2009 NAEP report included a pilot program providing in-depth information for 11 states, including Iowa.  Iowa was one of only five states with higher scores in both reading and math than the national average.  Both the reading and math scores for Iowa students were four points higher than the national average.

The NAEP report is the nation’s “report card.”  On a standard A, B, C, D scale of grades, even Iowa schools did no better than a “C” at teaching the basics of reading and math.  This is not a report card our schools and teachers should want.  The results of the NAEP annual report have remained flat since 1992, for almost 20 years.

According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the United States spends $10,000 per student on primary, secondary, and tertiary education. As of 2006, we were spending over seven percent of our Gross Domestic Product on education, according to The UK Guardian.  Iowa ranks 26th nationwide in per-pupil spending, at $7,574 per pupil, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

We are spending a significant amount of our national treasury on education and that amount has steadily increased.  However, the results have not changed for the better.

Yet we still hear the clamoring of more money, more money, more money for education!  Education takes up roughly 60% of Iowa’s state budget.  How much more can we really justify spending with these anemic results?