As schools break for summer, it’s a good time to review the return America is getting on its investment in education. The Census Bureau reports inflation-adjusted spending in K-12 education has tripled since 1970 to a record $751.7 billion. Yet barely a third of all fourth-graders across U.S. urban communities can read or do math at grade level. The time has come to reimagine the way we pay for education. Let’s stop writing blank checks to failing school systems.
Consider a single mother of two. From kindergarten to high school graduation, the government will spend nearly $250,000 on each of her children. Yet she won’t have much of a say in how the dollars are spent. Without her consent, the bureaucrats who run the public schools will build facilities, hire teachers and plan curriculum that may leave her children far behind their peers, all at exorbitant prices.