The results of more education spending is just more education spending

The last line of my latest newspaper column on the margin tax being proposed by the Nevada State Education Association to “improve” education was: “The tax would negatively affect every household in the state without assuring any improvement in education.”

It turns out past history is an indicator of just how much improvement we might expect by spending an additional $800 million a year on public education and making Nevada’s corporate tax rate nearly double that in California.

Andrew Coulson crunched the numbers for the Cato Institute on a state by state basis.

Here is how increased spending has “improved” education in Nevada:

And here is a more detailed look at those SAT scores:

Coulson concludes:

“Adjusted state SAT scores have declined by an average of 3 percent. This echoes the picture of stagnating achievement among American 17-year-olds painted by the Long Term Trends portion of the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a series of tests administered to a nationally representative sample of students since 1970. That disappointing record comes despite a more-than-doubling in inflation-adjusted per pupil public-school spending over the same period (the average state spending increase was 120 percent). Consistent with those patterns, there has been essentially no correlation between what states have spent on education and their measured academic outcomes. In other words, America’s educational productivity appears to have collapsed, at least as measured by the NAEP and the SAT.

“That is remarkably unusual. In virtually every other field, productivity has risen over this period thanks to the adoption of countless technological advances —advances that, in many cases, would seem ideally suited to facilitating learning. And yet, surrounded by this torrent of progress, education has remained anchored to the riverbed, watching the rest of the world rush past it.”

Coulson also found that in states in which education spending actually decline, there was no corresponding decline in test scores. Perhaps we are doing something fundamentally wrong and should rethink public education entirely in Nevada and nationally.