This chart shows how ineffective our education system is, in spite of spending increasing nearly 200% since 1970.
The Department of Education was formalized in 1979. As you can see from the following chart, federal spending remained relatively constant (in constant dollars) from 1980 to 2000 and then more than doubled in 2006.
Look at the first chart again and focus on the period since 2000. Note that there is no improvement in results.
What can we conclude?
- The Federal Department of Education has had no impact on education. It can and should be eliminated.
- Something else is driving the high cost of education.
My suspicion is that teachers unions are the primary culprit in both the high cost and the poor results.
- Numerous studies find that the key element to effective education is the teacher.
- Teacher unions are known to protect ‘poor’ teachers (the famous ‘rubber’ rooms in New York)
- In Wisconsin we have learned that costs were inflated by Union sponsored insurance plans that were forced on school boards.
- In addition to pure wages, unions also fight for and win many concessions that inhibit effectiveness and costs.
Perhaps the most dramatic evidence against our current education system is the proven effectiveness of ‘charter’ schools. Unfortunately the teacher unions see these schools as a ‘threat’ (which they are) and have launched very effective opposition to the expansion of the ‘charter’ system.
We need to fight for ‘charter’ schools and freedom of choice for education just as we need to fight for the free market. Freedom of choice in education and the market as a whole is our greatest hope for improvement in education and the economy.