Are public schools the craziest government program of all?

Is this true?
Is this true?

I have serious problems with public schooling as anyone who reads ACC regularly knows. But saying this I come from a family of public school teachers and I think each one is a professional. My kids have had some fantastic public school teachers. But public school, even in the best districts (and perhaps especially) is kind of loco.

(From Real Clear Markets)

It gets even crazier, because despite this disparity, public school funding doesn’t seem to make much of a difference. The average American public school spends $11,455 per pupil, and that’s is just the average: Washington, D.C., the home of legendarily horrible government schools—among eighth-graders, only 17 percent are proficient in reading and 19 percent proficient in math—spends upward of $18,000 per student. That’s from the U.S. Census Bureau, by the way; after examining the numbers, the Cato Institute estimated that D.C. might spend closer to $25,000 per pupil. Across the board, inflation-adjusted per-pupil spending has tripled since 1970. Test scores have not gone up.

Where does that money go? Well, in 2012, D.C. teachers made an average of $90,681 in salary and benefits. But the real growth in school spending can be found outside the classroom. According to a report from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, “The Hidden Half: School Employees That Don’t Teach,” non-teaching staff in American public schools spiked 130 percent between 1970 and 2010. Student enrollment for that time period, they note, grew only 8.6 percent. Since 1950, school employees in general—many in “administrative” positions—grew by almost 500 percent.

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