Over the last half-century, the American people have been performing an experiment to see if perhaps throwing money at education would improve test scores. As has long since been obvious, the experiment has failed.
Since 1961, real spending per pupil has increased by almost fourfold, with no evidence of real improvement. In fact, the 1950s and ’60s now seem like the good old days in terms of student achievement.
In Washington we are faced with a court order to “amply fund” public schools – as if $10,441 per student per year isn’t enough. Remember, insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
Two questions present themselves:
• Why do American students do so poorly against their Western counterparts? Because Americans don’t value education.
Oh, we pretend to. We talk a good line. But when we reward test scores the way we reward football scores, we’ll finally see a difference.
• Does it really matter whether we are tops in the world? The famous book, “Why Johnny Can’t Read,” was published in 1955, so it’s clear that the “crisis” isn’t a new one. I’m sure it wasn’t new in 1955, either. Yet over most of the 20th century, America led the world in innovation and productivity. Education is important, but maybe rating higher than Japan in student scores is not.
The Washington Legislature should defy the Supreme Court. It’s obvious that we spend way too much already.