Education quality doesn't improve with more money

Published: April 26, 2013
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Bill Mathis (Your Views, April 19) suggests Oklahoma should raise its sales tax and put the money into education. The hopes he cites are admirable. Unfortunately, there's no evidence in modern times that education quality is improved by or with higher expenditures for education. One-room schoolhouses produced some educated people. For example, when one correlates 2010 state-by-state figures for per-student government expenditures on K-12 with statewide high school graduation rates, one will find no correlation (actually, a negative one). As much as we want better schools, such data indicate either that there are inherent problems in the school systems that preclude positive quality responses to input dollars or that we simply don't know how and where to expend such money, or both.

Until someone produces evidence that education quality can respond to incremental dollars, there's a burden on proponents of higher spending. Granted, there are other measures of K-12 quality than graduation rates. But all such evidence needs critical examination. If any survives that, I'll write to applaud it.

William H. Hall, Oklahoma City

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