The politicians and policymakers in this country are certainly not getting any kind of return on their decades-long investment and campaign to extort money out of the populace in order to give children a “free education.”
A recent study by the Cato Institute found that despite billions of dollars in additional taxes and funds to America’s education system, test scores have at best remained the same, and have in some places declined on average.
On average, student academic performance actually declined slightly over the last 40 years — an astonishing fact, given the huge amount of money spent on public education and the general boost that technological improvements have provided to virtually every other sector of U.S. life.
The sobering truth comes courtesy of the Cato Institute’s Center for Educational Freedom. Andrew Coulson, director of the center, examined trends in education spending and standardized test scores between 1972 and 2012. In many states, inflation-adjusted education spending rose by 50 percent, 100 percent and even 200 percent. Test scores, however, were hardly affected — and even fell in many states.
Virginia, for example, spent 120 percent more on public education in 2009 than it did in 1972. But its students’ average test scores — when adjusted for demographic changes — fell by about three percent.
Coulson called the lack of progress for U.S. students, “remarkably unusual.”
Remarkably unusual? When you turn something like education into a massive bureaucracy, this sort of result should be expected. Granted, Coulson was talking about the education system in the context of our numerous technological advances. He said, “In virtually every other field, productivity has risen over this period thanks to the adoption of countless technological advances — advances that, in many cases, would seem ideally suited to facilitating learning. And yet, surrounded by this torrent of progress, education has remained anchored to the riverbed, watching the rest of the world rush past it.”
In general, he’s probably right. But in this case, we’re dealing with a government agency and top-down control. In the private sector, sure, technology has allowed us to produce more efficiently and conveniently.
But government doesn’t know how to use technology to make itself more efficient and streamlined. They’re the exact opposite. Their top-down policies, their endless bureaucratic layers and regulations stifle creativity and innovation. The more money that gets thrown their way, the worse off the little guys are. Education’s failure (or success, depending on how you look at it) should come as no surprise to anyone.