U.S. public schools administrative staff and rising benefits costs are squeezing school budgets nationwide.
Not long after Los Angeles’ teachers returned to work after a six-day strike last month, more than 5,000 teachers in Colorado’s largest school district went on strike demanding higher pay. The Denver strike was resolved after three days, but it’s likely that this is just the beginning of teacher activism in 2019. Teachers in California, West Virginia and Virginia are gearing up to fight. As the legislative season gets rolling, teacher pay and education funding are hot topics in statehouses across the country.
Given all this it would be easy to believe, as many do, that America’s schools are starved of funding. But that argument doesn’t fully match the data. While there is variation across states, school funding has increased dramatically over the past 40 years.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, inflation-adjusted per-pupil spending on public education has more than doubled since the 1970s. So why all the unrest? To answer that, we need to take a look at how all that new money has been spent.
Josh B. McGee is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.
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