Marcus Winters — whom I will long remember as the author of Teachers Matter and featured presenter at the Independence Institute’s first-ever Brown Bag Lunch — has written a great new piece for City Journal.
Appropriately titled “Better Schools, Fewer Dollars,” Winters’ column addresses the issue of tight budgets and educational productivity. A few weeks ago I highlighted a new 2-minute Education Policy Center video on rethinking Colorado school finance that sounded similar themes.
Winters brings forward data, some more familiar than others, to show how spending per K-12 student skyrocketed in the past generation with very little or no improvements to show for it. The Manhattan Institute senior fellow further undermines the logic of adequacy studies used to inform court decisions like Colorado’s Lobato case. And this is what a Denver judge hangs her cut-and-paste ruling for the state to spend billions more in scarce resources?
Anyway, Winters also reviews the research on cost-saving charters and voucher programs, which show some benefits for students and at the very worst could be interpreted as not doing any harm. Nothing new or surprising there for faithful readers or others who have paid attention to the education reform debate. But his concluding proposal intriguingly demands a closer look: Continue Reading »