Wednesday, February 11, 2004
As the Legislature continues to gnash their teeth and beat their chests over the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad job of dealing with school finance, there's one thing they should remember:
More money does not produce better learning.
We should put a bust of longtime University of Rochester economist Eric Hanushek in the Rotunda. He's now with the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, and coming to the end of a long career as a -- surprise! -- Democrat who has devoted most of his career to examining the effect of school spending on student achievement.
He has reviewed 400 studies of student performance and school resources, along with 275 more studying the impact of class-size reduction and achievement, and has found . . .
. . . drum roll, please . . .
NO LINK BETWEEN INCREASED SPENDING AND BETTER STUDENT PERFORMANCE.
With a doctorate in econ from MIT, he knows how to do the math. And he says that real spending per pupil has zoomed upwards by 200 percent from 1960 to the 1990s, while the pupil-per-teacher rate has zoomed downwards by one-third, from 26:1 to 17:1. Despite all the incredible costs of that, achievement has improved only marginally across the land, and mostly among minorities, whose scores had very little room to go downward anyway.
In fact, Hanushek's life's work suggests that the smartest thing we could do, to improve student learning, is to CUT SPENDING.
Try it! We'll like it!
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