I like to argue with studies, because I think that arguing by appealing to evidence is the Biblical model. Everywhere in the Bible, you see Jesus and the apostles performing miracles in order to validate their claims about the world. So, when I’m arguing any issue, like education policy, I want to do it with evidence. And now, we have some evidence about what works best for students.
Consider this article from the Heritage Foundation.
Here’s the summary:
An analysis of student test-score data shows that employing a chief diversity officer (CDO) in K–12 school districts does not contribute to closing achievement gaps and is even likely to exacerbate those gaps. If CDOs are not accomplishing their stated goals, what is accomplished by creating these positions? CDOs may be best understood as political activists who articulate and enforce an ideological orthodoxy within school districts. They help to mobilize and strengthen the political influence of one side. The creation of CDOs tilts the political playing field against parent and teacher efforts to remove the radical ideology of critical race theory and other illiberal ideals from school curricula and practices.
Schools have been spending a lot on administrative staff, but CBS News reported on a recent study that shows that student performance is flat or declining:
Decades of increased taxpayer spending per student in U.S. public schools has not improved student or school outcomes from that education, and a new study finds that throwing money at the system is simply not tied to academic improvements.
The study from the CATO Institute shows that American student performance has remained poor, and has actually declined in mathematics and verbal skills, despite per-student spending tripling nationwide over the same 40-year period.
The student performance is bad, but the costs of education keep rising. Why?
Where does all the money go?
Let’s look at four places where the money spent on the government-run public school monopoly ends up.
First, a lot of it gets paid to administrations who implement diversity and inclusion programs designed to indoctrinate students in leftist ideology.
Here’s a helpful chart from the American Enterprise Institute:
Second, education employees get enormous pensions, which are paid by taxpayers and negotiated by their unions. You would never see pensions this large in the private sector.
This is from the leftist Brookings Institute, from 2014:
This figure shows we now spend nearly $1,100 per student on retirement benefits. The average public school student teacher ratio is 16 to 1. So we are spending about $17,000 per year per teacher in pension contributions.
[…]The National Council on Teacher Quality writes,
In 2014 teacher pension systems had a total of a half trillion dollars in unfunded liabilities—a debt load that climbed more than $100 billion in just the last two years. Across the states, an average of 70 cents of every dollar contributed to state teacher pension systems goes toward paying off the ever-increasing pension debt, not to future teacher benefits (p. iii).
While we are spending a huge amount to fund teacher pensions, most of that spending doesn’t go to attracting the best teachers. It’s paying off past debts.
We can’t hire good teachers, because all the education spending of today is paying for the gold-plated pensions of yesterday.
Third, a lot of it is spent on teacher training. I guess teaching multiplication, Shakespeare or geography changes every year? Is that why they need annual training?
The Washington Post reports on a recent study:
A new study of 10,000 teachers found that professional development — the teacher workshops and training that cost taxpayers billions of dollars each year — is largely a waste.
The study released Tuesday by TNTP, a nonprofit organization, found no evidence that any particular approach or amount of professional development consistently helps teachers improve in the classroom.
[…]The school districts that participated in the study spent an average of $18,000 per teacher annually on professional development. Based on that figure, TNTP estimates that the 50 largest school districts spend an estimated $8 billion on teacher development annually. That is far larger than previous estimates.
And teachers spend a good deal of time in training, the study found. The 10,000 teachers surveyed were in training an average of 19 school days a year, or almost 10 percent of a typical school year, according to TNTP.
Finally, this is from OpenSecrets.org, concerning political contributions made in 2016:
The two largest teacher unions came in at #9 and #11. Most of their donations go to Democrat Party. Democrats believe (against the evidence) that spending more money in the government-run public school monopoly will improve student performance on tests.