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feature article united states


Public education

During the past 40 years, funding for primary education has increased dramatically, in terms of constant dollars; yet standardized testing scores show little to no improvement and sometimes even deterioration. Nor does empirical evidence show any marked signs of improvement in education. It's disingenuous to blame the tests, since other countries are able to outscore the United States, as are certain localities able to outscore the U.S. national average, without "teaching to the test."

It's not a problem of funding. It's a problem of bureaucracy at the Federal, state and district level and more importantly, it's a problem of teachers. The bureaucracy exhibited in public education is truly astonishing. The U.S. Department of Education, with a budget of $50 billion a year, gives money to states, localities and special programs in the form of grants, but does not fund education directly. But this money does not come with no strings attached. To receive it, schools must implement all manner of wild and crazy programs, such as Title 9. Take a looksie at this funding chart, plotted against reading test scores. Interesting? [ Read More ]