The Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania issued a press release analyzing government school spending in relation to SAT scores.
The conclusion? Spending keeps going up while SAT scores keep going down.
Here's the release:
HARRISBURG, Pa. -- The Philadelphia Inquirer recently released their 2008 Report Card on the Schools which again indicates that government schools cannot spend their way to success.
School districts in the five-county southeast Pennsylvania region increased spending 2% from 2007 to $12,819 per student. Meanwhile, SAT Math & Verbal scores continued a gradual decline of 5 points to an average of 956 per student. Since 2003, spending per student has increased 35% while SAT scores have dropped an average of 16 points per student.
The results from individual schools highlight the inability of more and more tax dollars to enhance school performance. Since 2003, the three schools that have increased spending the most are Chester Upland (92%), Bristol Township (66%) and Norristown (50%). Meanwhile, their SAT scores are down 39, 41 and 45 points respectively.
The schools that have exercised greatest control on spending are Radnor (6%), Methacton (10%) and Owen Roberts (11%). Their test scores are unchanged, up 52 points and down 1 point respectively.
Montgomery County Libertarian Chair James Babb declared, "The cost of education continues to rise while quality declines. This is the inherent problem with any product or service provided by government. The only way I know to improve quality and reduce costs is the free market. I trust parents to make good choices about their children’s future much more than politicians."
The Report Card supports Mr. Babb's point regarding the cost/quality advantage of the private sector. Despite the burden of competing against a large government monopoly, the average cost per student of a private/parochial school in the region is $10,651, 20% less than a government school. The average SAT score is 1152, 194 points above the average for government schools.
Libertarian land value tax author, Harold Kyriazi, adds "School administrators without the power to fire incompetent teachers and exclude disruptive students, and parents without the power to withdraw their tax dollars from underperforming schools, virtually guarantees a bad outcome. On the other hand, we know that healthy competition, and genuine educational choice for parents and control for administrators, would guarantee that the best schools and teachers rise to the top."
Michael Robertson, LPPa Chair, notes "It has been sufficiently demonstrated that overall, performance has been declining while costs increase in the current public education system. It is clear that increased funding is not directly proportional to improved academic performance in Pennsylvania's public schools. State and federal mandates make it increasingly difficult for parents and local school boards to address issues of concern. Playing a shell game with increased earned income taxes and more sales taxes to perhaps allow for some property tax reductions does not address the problems of public education in our Commonwealth. Until this system changes the quality of public school education will continue to suffer as costs continue to rise."
The Libertarian Party is the third largest political party in Pennsylvania and the United States. More than 200,000 people across the country are registered Libertarians, and Libertarians serve in hundreds of elected offices. Visit www.LP.org or www.LPPA.org for more information.