“Throwing Money”

In any education debate, there are always two positions on education spending: 1) throwing money at the problem isn’t making things any better and 2) money is essential for underperforming schools – especially those in poor areas – to succeed. Last week the non-profit group State Budget Solutions released a report with title that left no doubt as to where they stand on the issue:  “Throwing Money at Education Isn’t Working.” Below is a graph of state expenditures as percentage of total budget.

The report shows education budgets have doubled since 1970 and yet the achievement gap by race and social class is still wide while US test scores have failed keep up with those in others countries. It then recommends control over education spending should happen on a local level rather than at a state or national level. This is an interesting argument at a time of Common Core implementation around the country.

As a teacher who has taught in schools where money is tight I have to really scratch my head at this report. I have had class rosters over 40 and not a single textbook in my room because of budget difficulties at public schools – and all of this in the state of Texas which spends near the top in terms of percentage of budget dedicated to education. Here is a look at how the spending per pupil has increased in Texas just since 1998:


To read the full report from State Budget Solutions click here or if you want a snappy little summary check out this article from Education Week.

What do you think about the role of money in education?




One thought on ““Throwing Money”

  1. Chrissy says:

    When I hear that schools “need more money” usually the argument is kids need more textbooks (not in science, exactly), or we need to offer more pay for teachers, or some variant. In my experience, those weren’t the problems that my students have.

    Some students didn’t have places to go after school. One didn’t have a place for sleeping (she fell asleep in my class almost every day, at 10am – not the time of day when sleepy students is usually a problem). I had a 4th grader who didn’t want us to report abuse because she didn’t want “Daddy to be taken away again.”

    Of course there are kids who might do better with a shiny new ($80+) textbook, but they need the things all kids need: a safe place to go and good food to eat. I’d rather see us do those things first. Then give some money to teachers and ask them to spend it in their classroom. I bet they don’t buy textbooks.

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