Inequality in education
By Scott Sumner
Because I’m a resident of Newton, Massachusetts, I couldn’t help noticing that it was recently named the Best Suburb in America for education. And it’s easy to see why:
That’s largely because this wealthy Boston suburb has the money to fund some really excellent schools. In fact, out of all of the places we looked at Newton spent the third most on each student: $17,343.
It’s a sad comment on our country that money is lavished on schools in wealthy suburbs like Newton, while schools that are dominated by black and hispanic students (such as nearby Boston) are starved for funds. Here’s Boston’s public school demographics:
Unfortunately I was unable to find per pupil spending in 2014 for Boston, but I did find a web site with per pupil spending in 2013 for all the towns in Massachusetts. Just look at the savage inequalities in our system:
Per pupil spending in 2013:
PS. My daughter attends one of the most expensive high schools ever built, costing over $200 million. The locals call it the “Taj Mahal.”
June 26 (Bloomberg) — A $200 million high school scheduled to open in 2010 in the Boston suburb of Newton, Massachusetts, will be the state’s most expensive. It may also be the last of its kind.
The 413,000-square-foot (33,368 square-meter) Newton North High, featuring an arts complex and an athletic wing with swimming pool and climbing wall, has become a symbol of excess in Massachusetts, where households bear the country’s eighth-highest property-tax burden, according to the Washington-based Tax Foundation.
The project’s estimated cost of $478 a square foot has doubled since Newton Mayor David Cohen proposed it in 2003. The price jump sparked a taxpayer revolt that kept him from seeking a fourth term next year. Massachusetts Treasurer Timothy Cahill, who called the building the “Taj Mahal,” wants to limit the price for future state-subsidized schools, including one proposed by the neighboring town of Wellesley, to $100 million.
But even we can’t compete with Boston.