(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)
Today is tax day, and if you are like me, it is your favorite day to throw a fit about paying them. It’s worth keeping in mind that about half of your state budget winds up going to K-12, and that those K-12 budgets are incredibly bloated by historic standards.
So we used to employ 2.36 teachers for every non-teacher in American public schools. Today, it is close to 1 to 1.
We must be packing students into classrooms like sardines in order to afford this vast legion of non-teachers! Except, um, not so much. That ratio fell despite hiring far more teachers per pupil. And thus we move from an inflation adjusted spending per pupil total of $2,377 in 1950 to over $12,000 per pupil today.
Jay and Greg noted in Education Myths that the notion of a lost golden age of public education is a myth. At least, that is, in terms of academic achievement (best we can tell, it has been flat). In terms of efficiency however, there was a golden age, and it has indeed been lost.