More Money, More Money, More Money? Have we really ever tried sustained, targeted school funding for America’s neediest children?

Posted on January 27, 2015

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I’m no-longer surprise these days by the belligerent wrongness of rhetoric around school funding equity and adequacy. Arguably, much of the supporting rationale for the current (and other recent) education reforms is built on the house of cards that when it comes to financing equitably and adequately our public school systems – especially those serving our neediest children, we’ve been there and done that. In fact, we’ve been there and done that for decades. It just never ends. For example, as recently summarized in regional New York State news outlet:
Cuomo said more money isn’t necessarily the answer.
“We’ve been putting more money into failing schools for decades,” he said. “Over the last 10 years, 250,000 children went through those failing schools, and New York government did nothing.
Yes – that’s it – for decades New York State has simply been pouring more and more money into failing schools – all of its “failing” schools, and all for naught.
Similarly, data free ideology tells us that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has made a fiscal experiment of Philadelphia, pouring massive sums of funding into that city’s schools, well, again, nearly forever! And to higher amounts that, well, really any other district in or in near proximity to the Commonwealth! Or so says edu-pundit Andrew Smarick on twitter just over a year ago. Here are a few gems from his Twitter rant on Philly schools:
Philly’s district = terrible for decades, families left, as a result it’s bankrupt. Gotten huge state funding for yrs to prop it up.
I know Philly gets among (if not THE) highest levels of funding from the state. I also know it’s been losing thousands of students.
As per the usual course, we are now also told that the exorbitant – highest in the country in fact – spending of Camden public schools and their persistent failure are yet another (anecdotal) proof positive that throwing money down the rat hole of government schools serving high poverty neighborhoods, is well, pointless. Or so says a new Reason Foundation documentary using Camden as the anecdote du jour:
 In Camden, per pupil spending was more than $25,000 in 2013, making it one of the highest spending districts in the nation.
Well, actually, the only national database of per pupil spending available even by this date go up to 2011-12. So I’m not quite sure what they’re talking about. In 2012, taking census fiscal survey data More Money, More Money, More Money? Have we really ever tried sustained, targeted school funding for America’s neediest children? | School Finance 101: