While I have great fondness for some of the visuals I’ve created over the years (especially “two wagons” and “apple harvesting“), I confess that none of my creations have ever been as clear and convincing as the iconic graph on education spending and education outcomes created by the late Andrew Coulson.
I can’t imagine anyone looking at his chart and not immediately realizing that you don’t get better results by pouring more money into the government’s education monopoly.
But the edu-crat lobby acts as if evidence doesn’t matter. At the national level, the state level, and the local level, the drumbeat is the same: Give us more money if you care about kids.
So let’s build on Coulson’s chart to show why teachers’ unions and other special interests are wrong.
Gerard Robinson of the American Enterprise Institute and Professor Benjamin Scafidi from Kennesaw State University take a close look at this issue.
And when the authors say it’s been a “costly failure,” they’re not exaggerating.
By the way, the failure of government schools doesn’t affect everyone equally.
Parents with economic resources (such as high-profile politicians) can either send their kids to private schools or move to communities where government schools still maintain some standards.
But for lower-income households, their options are very limited.
Minorities disproportionately suffer, as explained by Juan Williams in the Wall Street Journal.
But Juan points out that the problems aren’t confined to minority communities. The United States has a national education problem.
This is very grim news, especially when you consider that the United States spends more on education – on a per-pupil basis – than any other country.
Here’s a table confirming Juan’s argument. It lacks the simple clarity of Andrew Coulson’s graph, but if you look at these numbers, it’s difficult to reach any conclusion other than we spend a lot in America and get very mediocre results.
Juan concludes his column with a plea for diversity, innovation, and competition.
He’s right, but he should focus his ire on his leftist friends and colleagues. They’re the ones (including the NAACP!) standing in the proverbial schoolhouse door and blocking the right kind of education reform.
P.S. This is a depressing post, so let’s close with a bit of humor showing the evolution of math lessons in government schools.
P.P.S. If you want some unintentional humor, the New York Times thinks that education spending has been reduced.
P.P.P.S. Shifting to a different topic, another great visual (which also happens to be the most popular item I’ve ever shared on International Liberty) is the simple image properly defining the enemies of liberty and progress.
Republished from Dan Mitchell's blog.
Daniel J. Mitchell is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute who specializes in fiscal policy, particularly tax reform, international tax competition, and the economic burden of government spending. He also serves on the editorial board of the Cayman Financial Review.
This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.
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