The Money Pit

Alyson Klein at K-12 Politics (Education Week) is reporting what?may not be too surprising: that conservatives on the Hill don't much care for increased federal education spending.? But it's the setup to the Cato Institute's always understated case against federal meddling that is priceless:

Just in case the message hasn't gotten through, school districts should know that the new Republicans in Congress really don't think that more money equals better student outcomes. The most popular item at the hearing today? A chart by the Cato Institute's Andrew Coulson essentially saying that the federal government has spent $2 trillion over the past half century, with nothing to show for it in terms of student results.

A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon we'll be talking real money.

As Mike has emphasized (see the podcast here?or with Chris' Treat the Disease post earlier today) the current fiscal challenges facing school districts will not solve any of our education problems unless we take advantage of the crisis to weed the garden of costly, nutrient-sapping ?non-educational practices like single-salary schedules and tenure.?

?There were questions on issues like teacher retention, and even whether school districts can save money and boost student achievement by cutting back transportation costs and making more parents drive their kids to school,? reports Klein about House Education committee hearing.? But, "the big, overall consensus?

The feds need to set high goals and then get out of the way and let states and districts figure out how to reach them. (For those nerds who follow edu-think-tankland, that's basically the Fordham Institute's "reform realism.")

Hey there!? Nerds?? Is that an anthropomorphism in search of an idea?

--Peter Meyer, Bernard Lee Schwartz Policy Fellow

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