(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)
While some of us continue to CeleNAEP good times, Arizona’s spending lobby continues to inexplicably lament because Arizona spent more money during the housing bubble. One might, as Cartman, even refer to it as unfathomable sadness. Dana Naimark of the Children’s Action Alliance provides an illustrative example of the genre:
Ducey likes to brag about moving government at the speed of business. He says economic growth will take care of our public schools.
But for three years, he has put his foot on the brake for public school funding while directing more of our state’s precious resources to cut taxes for corporations, grow tax credits with no accountability, and support private and religious schools with tax credits and vouchers.
The vast majority of parents who choose public schools have already waited a decade for funding to be restored. Arizona can’t afford to wait another five years without a clear financial plan. We expect reinvestments we can count on, with funding that is permanent and equitable and not built on gimmicks.
Governor, it’s time to answer that call.
I could provide links showing AZ spending per pupil spending increasing over the last three years (could someone please put their foot on my personal finances like this?) but that is just too easy. The genre features either an explicit or implicit assumption that spending is tightly tied to academic outcomes. The folly of this assumption is easily demonstrated. The National Center for Education Statistics for instance pegged current (not total) spending per pupil in Arizona at $7,562 in 2013-14 and New York at $20,440. Delightfully however Arizona students closed the academic gap with New York students.
Just in case you suspect some sort of Math fluke:
If you are a New Yorker, your sadness is entirely fathomable. Data like those in the above charts ought to have people rioting in the streets of Albany demanding to know just what is being done with their tax dollars?
If you live in Arizona, sadness looks unfathomable indeed. If you can’t be happy leading the nation in academic gains then you either have very odd K-12 priorities or else just lack the necessary talent for living happily ever after. Neither problem here!