By Arnold Kling
Ken of Upper Left Coast came up with an analogy between Maryland’s Walmart Law and a proposed reform for public education.
I wonder if those who rejoiced in the passage of Maryland’s law — and who, I’m relatively certain, gave little or no thought to Kling’s questions in that piece — would be equally in favor of proposals around the country to dedicate at least 65 percent of school funds to the classroom?
…An arbitrary, one-size-fits-all formula that could force cuts. Hmmm. Why is it OK to impose such a gimmick on the company liberals love to hate (Wal-Mart), but it’s not an appropriate remedy for the funding problems that plague the liberals’ sacred cow (public education)?
If you divide the U.S. Department of Education’s figure for total spending on K-12 education by the department’s count of K-12 students, it works out to about $10,000 per student.
Think about that! For a class of 25 kids, that’s $250,000 per classroom.
I, too, have wondered about this arithmetic. If the teacher makes $50,000 a year, that accounts for 20 percent of spending. Where does the rest of it go? Is there a chance that, at the margin, shifting spending from some of those other functions to classroom teaching could be beneficial?
I wonder what would happen if you did that sort of arithmetic for colleges and universities.