Debunking the Big Lie in Education Funding

Image by Darkmoon_Art from Pixabay

by DJ Rippert

The big lie. Various intellectuals, aided and abetted by the mainstream media, have repeatedly put forth the falsehood that funding for public K-12 education in America has been decreasing. In fact, the opposite is true.  However, the number of times that false claims about defunding public education have been made, published and (eventually) retracted / corrected leaves one wondering whether these are uninformed errors or an effort to repeat a “big lie” in the hope that Americans will come to accept the lie.

Falsehood. Publication. Eventual correction. Repeat. An Op-Ed piece in the Washington Examiner penned by Corey DeAngelis documents disturbing cases of factual errors about education funding made by so-called experts and published by so-called professional news outlets. In each case, the error was eventually corrected. However, those corrections were made days after the original false statement.

Robert Pianta, the dean of the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia:

False statement …  “public funding for schools has actually decreased since the late 1980s.”

Publication … Washington Post (is anybody surprised?)

Correction (8 days later) … ” … Correction: An earlier version of this piece stated that, adjusting for constant dollars, public funding for schools had decreased since the late 1980s. This is not the case. In fact, funding at the federal, state and local levels has increased between the 1980s and 2019.

Pricilla Murolo, Labor History professor, Sarah Lawrence College:

False statement … “drastic cuts to funding over the last few decades” in education.

Publication … Philadelphia Inquirer

Correction … “This story has been changed because a previous version mischaracterized changes in public education funding. Education funding has increased over the last decade in Pennsylvania, but costs have outpaced those increases in many school districts across the state.”

The Examiner

Op-Ed goes on to cite two more false statements about education funding published in the Washington Post and one in the New York Times.

Reality. Inflation adjusted, per student spending on K-12 public education has increased by 280% since 1960. While some will find that increase in funding positive, others will not. A Stanford University survey of over 400 studies linking education spending to educational results found, ” … there is not a strong or consistent relationship between student performance and school resources. …” If insanity can be defined as trying the same thing over and over again while expecting different results then the approach to K-12 education in the US is clearly insane.

Other issues. While there is no excuse for so-called experts mangling the facts, there are legitimate issues within the K-12 public education system. For example, Benjamin Scafidi observed that between 1992 and 2014, real education spending per pupil increased by 27%, whereas real teacher salaries dropped by 2%.  How can this be? Scafidi further noted that from FY 1950 to FY 2015, student populations increased by 100%, teachers by 243% while non-teaching staff increased by 702%. (Figure E-1)

America’s schools are not underfunded, they are mismanaged. Too much of the constantly increasing funding is going to administrative bloat and too little is being focused on the classroom. This is entirely the fault of BigEd at the federal, state and local level. The next time a member of your local school board starts rambling on about Critical Race Theory ask them what efforts are being made to reduce overhead and use the freed up funds to bolster classroom learning. Your question will undoubtedly be met by slack-jawed, sloe-eyed silence.


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28 responses to “Debunking the Big Lie in Education Funding”

  1. LarrytheG Avatar
    LarrytheG

    I think DJ has touched on a legitimate issue but it really doesn’t have much to do with CRT but increases for thing like special education which schools used to not be much responsible for but now are and my understanding is that some kids require 20-30K of resources.

    I must say it looks like DJ used a Reason source for his post:

    https://reason.org/commentary/inflation-adjusted-k-12-education-spending-per-student-has-increased-by-280-percent-since-1960/

    1. WayneS Avatar

      “I must say it looks like DJ used a Reason source for his post…”

      Because everyone’s sources need to be cleared by you?

      1. LarrytheG Avatar
        LarrytheG

        Nope. But it sounds a LOT like the Reason post and I’m observing so. Does that bother you for me to observe so?

      2. Matt Adams Avatar
        Matt Adams

        Larbear’s would cite the frosted flakes box if their message coincided with his confirmation bias.

        When I saw Dr. Fauci make the statement that an attack on me is an attack on science, I swear it was Larbear impersonating him.

        1. WayneS Avatar

          😉

      3. Matt Adams Avatar
        Matt Adams

        Larbear’s would cite the frosted flakes box if their message coincided with his confirmation bias.

        When I saw Dr. Fauci make the statement that an attack on me is an attack on science, I swear it was Larbear impersonating him.

    2. DJRippert Avatar
      DJRippert

      CRT is relevant in that it is a willful distraction from the serious work required to make our schools better. Of course, asking school administrations to reduce overhead (meaning administrators) is like asking the turkey to serve itself for Thanksgiving dinner.

      The Reason article, reprinted in the Washington Examiner, was well sourced. I looked at the sources cited and found them to be credible.

      1. LarrytheG Avatar
        LarrytheG

        CRT is just another right-wing red scare tactic, nothing more.

        It’s for partisans and rubes.. and it was used in conjunction with race the last time it was used with McCarthy. It’s the same-old, same-old with Conservatives. It’s what they do.

        1. Matt Adams Avatar
          Matt Adams

          Says the partisan rube, devoid of facts and intelligence.

      2. James Wyatt Whitehead Avatar
        James Wyatt Whitehead

        CRT most certainly has a latent and trickle down cost. It just has not been measured yet. It will take the bean counters a decade to make a move on that. Yes the cost of CRT is real. The new layer of bureaucracy, training, materials, time distracted from learning real subject material, etc. The time, money, and educational resources diverted from the true mission of education will impact budgets and wallets.

      3. James Wyatt Whitehead Avatar
        James Wyatt Whitehead

        CRT most certainly has a latent and trickle down cost. It just has not been measured yet. It will take the bean counters a decade to make a move on that. Yes the cost of CRT is real. The new layer of bureaucracy, training, materials, time distracted from learning real subject material, etc. The time, money, and educational resources diverted from the true mission of education will impact budgets and wallets.

  2. tmtfairfax Avatar
    tmtfairfax

    Look carefully, the MSM have a lot of s*** on their faces given the IG’s report that the U.S. Park Police dispersed the crowd to permit the installation of fencing to protect St. John’s Church in downtown D.C. and not for the claimed Trump photo-op. But with the usual media integrity (which is on-par with that of Joseph Goebbels), there will be no retraction and humble pie eaten. I don’t like Trump but compared to the highly paid national media, he’s a combination of Lincoln and FDR. If Bezos had any stones, he’d can a few of his employees at the Post.

    1. DJRippert Avatar
      DJRippert

      It really is stunning just how bad the mainstream media has gotten. The points in my article were false facts. You have to wonder if any fact checking is performed on leftist articles and op-eds anymore.

      1. LarrytheG Avatar
        LarrytheG

        they may well have been but the points you make seem very close to what the Reason article made.

        coincidence?

      2. LarrytheG Avatar
        LarrytheG

        they may well have been but the points you make seem very close to what the Reason article made.

        coincidence?

      3. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
        Dick Hall-Sizemore

        I agree that the editing and fact checking is seriously lacking. I blame two factors: staff cutbacks and the digital age. Reporters are under such pressure to get stories in, using their laptops, that stuff is pushed onto the platform with little or no editorial checking.

        1. Matt Adams Avatar
          Matt Adams

          The larger issue would be the click-driven pay narrative. The more salacious the more clicks and the more revenues.

    2. LarrytheG Avatar
      LarrytheG

      TMT – how does that relate to schools?

      is this picture related?

      https://s.hdnux.com/photos/01/14/16/15/19981148/7/rawImage.jpg

    3. LarrytheG Avatar
      LarrytheG

      TMT – how does that relate to schools?

      is this picture related?

      https://s.hdnux.com/photos/01/14/16/15/19981148/7/rawImage.jpg

      1. tmtfairfax Avatar
        tmtfairfax

        “Various intellectuals, aided and abetted by the mainstream media, have repeatedly put forth the falsehood that funding for public K-12 education in America has been decreasing” Mainstream media accuracy & credibility. One would expect to see quite a few “Folks, we screwed up badly” items. Yah, right. Remember the old story – the emperor’s new clothes?

  3. WayneS Avatar

    “The next time a member of your local school board starts rambling on about Critical Race Theory ask them what efforts are being made to reduce overhead and use the freed up funds to bolster classroom learning. Your question will undoubtedly be met by slack-jawed, sloe-eyed silence.”

    It will also very likely result in you being called a racist.

    1. DJRippert Avatar
      DJRippert

      I’m White. By definition I’m a racist in the pea brains of CRT adherents. They might as well declare me to be human or a mammal as call me racist. Who cares?

      1. Nancy Naive Avatar
        Nancy Naive

        Wear a hat. No one will notice.

  4. Nancy Naive Avatar
    Nancy Naive

    The Big Lie?? What? Did Trump win the education funding vote too?

  5. James Wyatt Whitehead Avatar
    James Wyatt Whitehead

    Great column Mr. DJ. Every word is true. Education is such a massive institution. The process to gain control of the appropriation of money and funnel that money towards productive outcomes would require an army of allied politicians, lawyers, and public support.

  6. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
    Dick Hall-Sizemore

    I agree there is a lot of administrative bloat in local schools. There has also been a lot of new spending on noneducational staff such as counselors, psychologists, and school nurses. Whether or not this new spending is justified is another topic for discussion, but it is certainly spending that is not showing up in classrooms.

    1. Nancy Naive Avatar
      Nancy Naive

      “of new spending on noneducational staff such as counselors, psychologists, and school nurses. ”

      They’ll come in handy after the mass shooting.

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