Dan Walters: School advocates talk more dollars than sense – Press-Telegram

11/16/2011

…The California Budget Project, a liberal group that advocates for more spending, continues the money obsession with a new report contending that public education is being woefully underfinanced.

The CBP calls it “a decade of disinvestment” that has “left public systems and programs ill-equipped to cope with the ongoing impact of the Great Recession and the challenges of a growing population and an ever-more-competitive global economy.”

The report, citing data from the National Education Association and federal agencies, declares that California is 46th among the states in per-pupil spending at $8,908 per year, nearly $3,000 under the national average; 47th in school spending as a percentage of personal income; 50th in the number of students per teacher, and so forth.

It’s a selective array of data, perhaps chosen to support a proposed tax increase for schools. It does not, for example, include the fact that California teachers are very nearly the highest-paid in the nation.

Moreover, it paints a much darker picture than data from other sources.

The Census Bureau, for instance, surveys all forms of school spending and pegs California’s per-pupil number at $11,588, just $662 under the national average and 27th-highest in the nation, not 46th.

And it’s much higher in some big-city school systems, such as Los Angeles Unified, which has more than 600,000 students, spends $14,100 per pupil and has about a 50 percent high-school dropout rate…
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