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Friday, June 10, 2005

Education Spending (or lack thereof)

The National Center for Education Statistics has released spending figures for public primary/secondary education in the U.S. for 2002-2003.

Just for giggles, I plotted per-student spending against the percentage of school funding generated at the local level:



I also plotted per-student spending against the percentage of school funding generated at the federal level:



Spending per-student is higher when the locals control the purse strings? You mean, we are willing to spend more to educate our own children but not the children of folks across the country? Tsk, Tsk..(just kidding) - thank goodness!!

Update: Spent a little time on the throne thinking about this. We tend to hear folks decry the federal government's involvement in education for two reasons. First, the money and second the strings attached to the money. The former is evidently less of a concern but easier to project to the common man. The latter is likely to be a bigger problem but is more philosophical in nature.

It seems that federal spending is less of a problem where spending per-pupil is relatively high already. The graph above likely puts the causation in the wrong direction: states with low local/state spending per-pupil rely moreso on government money, to include luch programs, etc. Perhaps the federal government should stay out of the primary/secondary education business, I definitely have some sympathy for that view, but let's not argue about the money - let's argue about the strings.
STATA Data file

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