Monday, February 16, 2004


The Wall Street Journal published a revealing chart with stats from the U.S. Department of Education Budget Services office and test scores from the National Assessment of Educational Progress. See "No Politician Left Behind" on OpinionJournal.com: http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110004698

Federal, state and local spending on the nation's K-12 education shoots uphill like a roller-coaster from 1990 to 2003, from just over $200 billion a year to this year's record half-trillion dollars . . . and that's not even counting the enormous federal expenditures for special ed.

Meanwhile, fourth-grade test scores flat-line, like a dead person's brain wave, over all those years of increased spending. Ahem.

Nebraska state legislators, school administrators, school-board members and taxpayers must have a brain wave pattern a lot like that.

A check of the State Education Department's annual financial reports shows that Nebraska K-12 schools have increased their spending by 64 percent in the last 10 years . . . to ''handle'' an enrollment increase of .2 of 1 percent.

Nebraska schools spent $1,324,618,121.13 in 2002-03, compared to $852,748,199.67 a decade ago. But there are only 304 more pupils now than the 276,982 kids reported in the 1992-93 school year.

That comes to $1,552,203.69 in extra spending for each of those extra 304 pupils. Hmm . . . maybe they have really tricky special learning ''needs,'' eh?

Balderdash. If Nebraska kids were taught how to read correctly in the early grades, the lion's share of this outrageous overspending wouldn't be needed.

And the academic achievement trend line wouldn't look like a dead person’s. A very EXPENSIVE dead person's, at that.

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