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A Think Twice Review of:

Review of Financial Crisis Looming for K-12 Schools? Flexibility Needed, Not Bailouts

Think Twice - May 07, 2020

Publisher/Think Tank - Heritage Foundation

Author(s) - Jonathan Butcher

A new report from the Heritage Foundation argues that public education special interest groups, particularly teachers' unions, are detrimentally promoting excessive federal relief for education. Such spending, the report suggests, will come at the immediate expense of priorities like national defense.

Reviewer(s) - Jack Schneider, University of Massachusetts Lowell

Professor Jack Schneider of the University of Massachusetts Lowell reviewed Financial Crisis Looming for K-12 Schools? Flexibility Needed, Not Bailouts. He found that its selective use of data presents a misleading picture of the school funding landscape. The report frames educational expenditures as steadily rising over the past two decades—the product of the “unreasonable demands” made by teachers’ unions. However, spending on public education rose only moderately between 2008-2009 and 2016-2017 (the most recent available federal data). During this period, current expenditures per pupil rose from $12,435 to $12,794—an average annual increase of under 0.4%. Moreover, the average teacher salary since 1999-2000 has declined in constant dollars by 1.6%, suggesting that teacher interests are not driving the small spending increases.