The N&O’s latest installment in their “Influencer” series focused on the topic of public education. Unsurprisingly, this group largely read from the same script that more money is the solution.
Public schools need to receive adequate funding to ensure the continued health of North Carolina, according to a new survey of some of the state’s most influential leaders…
“While many of these issues are very important, adequate funding is the most important,” said Pamela Davies, president of Queens University of Charlotte….
“At all governmental levels we must adequately fund K-12 education,” said Webb Hubbell of Charlotte, an author and former Clinton Administration member.
Of course, as is always the case, such “influencers” are not asked how much funding would be considered “adequate.”
As of FY 2016-17, North Carolina spends a total of $13.1 billion on K-12 education, or $9,172 per student. That is just operational costs, and doesn’t include capital costs.
So, just how much would be “adequate”? $9,500 per student, $15,000, $20,000?
They’ll never say. The only answer you will ever get is “more.”
Moreover, what would educational outcomes look like if funding was “adequate?” What would literacy rates look like? Or standardized test scores? What would be the rate of high school graduates needing remedial classes in higher ed to get up to speed? How much of that information would the students retain into adulthood? And how would that additional $5,000 or $10,000 per student make those improved outcomes happen?
Of course, we’ve seen the national long-term trendline of spending per student tripling (even after adjusting for inflation) since 1970 while test scores remain flat at best.
It’s past time to start asking those who constantly bang the drum for “adequate” public school funding just how much funding would be considered “adequate,” and why we should expect that additional funding would produce improved outcomes, given that it so clearly has not worked in the past.