Green Room

Seven Not-So-Fun Facts About the Costs of Public Education

posted at 4:39 pm on April 22, 2013 by

For many years we have expressed education expenditures as “per-pupil spending.” This is a reasonably good way to frame the numbers, though controversy sometimes arises over what is included and what isn’t. The following is a list of different angles on the same spending. All the figures cited are for 2010, courtesy of the National Center of Education Statistics, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the U.S. Census Bureau.

1) Revenues collected by governments for public education in the United States totaled $593.7 billion. About $261.4 billion came from local sources, $258.2 billion from state sources, and $74 billion from federal sources.

2) That’s about $1,922 from each and every American.

3) Or $2,531 from each adult, 18 and older.

4) Or $4,567 from each non-farm American worker on a payroll.

5) That amounts to 11.4 percent of the average worker’s salary, or $2.20 per hour.

6) The average American employee thus works almost one hour every day to fund public schools.

7) It would take the entire salary of 14,842,500 employees to pay for U.S. public schools, equivalent to the entire retail trade workforce.

Public education advocates often speak of school spending as an investment. It’s clear that our portfolio is heavily weighted in the education sector. The shareholders are understandably upset by weak ROIs and incessant margin calls. No wonder they responded by downsizing.

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Something along the line of 10K or more per student per year. And they still can’t compete with students around the world spending that amount. Progressive teachers blame everything but teaching.

hawkdriver on April 22, 2013 at 11:58 PM

But if we only spent a little more, then all the teachers’ union officials could drive Maseratis the children would be so much better off!

malclave on April 23, 2013 at 12:46 AM

If they were turning out well educated graduates it wouldn’t be so bad.

Slowburn on April 23, 2013 at 2:06 AM

To paraphrase Franc’s King Henry IV, “An education is worth a Mass”. Let the Catholic Church run the schools. They’d be infinitely cheaper and at least we’d know the kids could read and write when they graduate.

The Teacher’s Unions are more dangerous to America than Al Qaeda

http://www.imperfectamerica.com

imperfectamerica on April 23, 2013 at 5:20 AM

Er… France’s…

imperfectamerica on April 23, 2013 at 5:21 AM

You can’t teach kids, oftentimes, who have parents that refuse to parent.
The erosion of morality in society is one reason why kids are dumb.
Coincidentally, every good student I have ever had & have right now has parents who make the kid accountable.
Human being by their very nature are lazy. In fact, all animals are this way.
Learning a lot of the time takes discipline & effort that is outside the evolutionary behavior route.
Work ethic often has to be taught.
By the time I get kids in the 9th grade, they have so many deleterious habits ingrained in them that it is nigh impossible to turn them around.
It’s possible, but not likely.
Elementary education has always rolled in the new fad every year & looks at educating young people not in preparing them for a future working in the world, but in indoctrination of new political fads. Progressivism.
It is cancerous. This is one place where the communists began to scurry in the early 1900s. And they have almost completely taken control of academia.

Badger40 on April 23, 2013 at 8:40 AM

Here’s some graphics comparing our school spending and results with other countries. Not-So-Fun either.

RadClown on April 23, 2013 at 8:46 AM

The solutions:
Privatize every school.
Vouchers for every child.
A bare minimum of government regulation–and that should be local, not federal regulation.
Abolish the Department of Education, a money drain which bogs schools down with red tape and squelches innovation.
Minimize the influence of the National Education Association (misnomer), which is only interested in accumulating power.
The result: the poor will be able to afford good schools. And there will be as many varieties of schools as there of restaurants. If you want to send your child to a school that emphasizes history, you’ll be able to find one. Need more language arts and less P.E.? It will be somewhere. And if you happen to be one of those Bible-lovers–*gasp!*–I’m sure there will be some schools to cater to you (and me).

itsnotaboutme on April 23, 2013 at 8:52 AM

It’s clear that our portfolio is heavily weighted in the education sector. The shareholders are understandably upset by weak ROIs and incessant margin calls.

Hey, the teachers unions really appreciate the sacrifices Mr and Mrs America are making.

antipc on April 23, 2013 at 9:26 AM

This public education monster began in America with Thomas Dewey. The self protecting teacher’s unions avoid accountability and competency. The ONLY and obvious answer is vouchers, vouchers, vouchers.

3dpuzzman on April 23, 2013 at 9:39 AM

I’ve got a really radical idea.
All those kids who don’t learn and don’t want to be in school and end up lifelong welfare leeches or prison inmates?
Just don’t make them go. You can pretty much pick them out from birth.
The welfare and prison would cost the same and the cost of schooling would plummet.
I’ve got another radical idea…..many kids who do get through school by the skin of their teeth….don’t have to take a math or science course past their sophomore year. They are mostly just killing time until they grow up. Let them out. Give them a GED test and graduate them and let them go to work and sign some types of contracts like to rent apartments or enroll in community college to learn trades.
I know, 16 year olds are idiots, but a lot of them aren’t a whole lot older and wiser at 18.

MAC1000 on April 23, 2013 at 9:58 AM

The solutions:
Privatize every school.
Vouchers for every child.

Agreed. We’ve wasted billions of dollars over several decades trying to reform the system from the top down. Vouchers would allow “bottom-up” reform.

When this subject came up at a family gathering, a relative of mine (a high-school counselor) did not dispute the possible benefits of vouchers, but said, “I’m afraid that they would hurt the public schools.”

I replied, “They wouldn’t hurt the good ones!”

Why in the world would you take your kid out of a GOOD public school?

I also think that there’s no need to argue this issue at great length. Our opponents would cheerfully argue forever, and nothing would ever change.

Let’s just keep repeating our basic point: “All we’re talking about here is giving people more choices about their children’s education. How can this be a bad thing?”

I mean, isn’t EVERYONE pro-choice? How can you NOT be pro-choice?

Owen Glendower on April 23, 2013 at 11:23 AM

“Hey, the teachers unions really appreciate the sacrifices Mr and Mrs America are making.”

Obviously, heavy sarcasm, because the unions don’t give a rip about Mr. & Mrs America*, and the sacrifices that they make, or they wouldn’t be continually demanding more.

*As Albert Shanker of the American Federation of Teachers (AFL/CIO) famously said:
I’ll represent the kids when they start paying dues!

Another Drew on April 23, 2013 at 11:35 AM

It’s clear that our portfolio is heavily weighted in the education sector. The shareholders are understandably upset by weak ROIs and incessant margin calls.

I’d like to move my investments into a different fund please….

dentarthurdent on April 23, 2013 at 11:37 AM

Common Core is where it’s at. Because when everyone is special, no one is special.

Nutstuyu on April 23, 2013 at 12:06 PM

Let’s just keep repeating our basic point: “All we’re talking about here is giving people more choices about their children’s education. How can this be a bad thing?”

I mean, isn’t EVERYONE pro-choice? How can you NOT be pro-choice?

Owen Glendower on April 23, 2013 at 11:23 AM

Repeat ad infinatum.

Nutstuyu on April 23, 2013 at 12:07 PM

You can’t teach kids, oftentimes, who have parents that refuse to parent.
The erosion of morality in society is one reason why kids are dumb.
Coincidentally, every good student I have ever had & have right now has parents who make the kid accountable.

Badger40 on April 23, 2013 at 8:40 AM

-
If the parent fails the school will have a much harder job to be sure. My sister taught special needs, as in half the class from dysfunctional homes… and the rest with other learning disabilities. It’s sad but true.

And more money will never fix that.

RalphyBoy on April 23, 2013 at 1:23 PM

Ok, so let me see if I read these numbers correctly…

People love to scream about how we only spend 2-4% on Education while we throw so much more at Defense. But the truth is that yes, 2-4% of our Federal budget goes towards Education (74B) the truth is that we spend almost as much when you take into account local and state $?

So the myth that we spend nothing on Education is just based on what comes directly from the Federal Budget?

$618B scheduled for Dept of Defense in 2013, and we spend $593B on Education…dear lord, I had no idea the total number was that damn high…INSANE!

nextgen_repub on April 23, 2013 at 1:26 PM

Progressive teachers blame everything but teaching.

I’m not even close to being a progressive teacher, and I have lots of blame for things beside my teaching, which I do with every iota of energy and passion I have in me. I play to a hostile audience of 40 9th graders at a time, and lemme tell ya…it ain’t easy. There’s a lot institutionally wrong with education today, no lie, loads of progressive claptrap, enabling, and stripped down curricula, but poor results aren’t necessarily the result of poor teaching. We’ve got to put some of the resonsibility on the parents and the students themselves (which does not happen), too.

I am so ready to retire, but I despair that there aren’t enough conservative teachers in line to replace me. Education is doomed if that happens.

Bob's Kid on April 23, 2013 at 2:56 PM