Americans Are Clueless About Education Spending

Nov 21, 2016 by

Do you know how much, on average, Americans spend on each of the more than 46 million students in the country’s public schools?

It’s about $11,000. But only 15% of respondents to a new poll could estimate the correct range of per-pupil spending. That’s according to a study released this month by EdChoice, the new name of the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice.

The “2016 Schooling in America Survey: Public Opinion on K–12 Education and School Choice” also finds that 9% of respondents say “education” is the most important issue facing the nation. That’s down from 17% in last year’s survey. The issues named as top priorities are “economy and jobs” (33%) and healthcare (12%). Immigration, values, crime, taxes, environment and housing all finished in the single digits.

Of course, some districts go way over that national average. In the Hoboken, N.J., school district, the cost per-pupil is nearly double the average, at $23,561. School administrators and the majority on the elected school board argue that the tax levy has to go up about 4% to cover new costs. Like? Nine new teachers at a high school that has lost 20% enrollment over the past 5 years.

When asked how much they thought was being spent in the nation’s public schools, about 21% of respondents to the poll pegged it at $4,000 or less per student. Another 26% couldn’t even make a guess.

Respondents tended to under-estimate spending. Those who were given the actual figures, however, were less like to say it is “too low.”

Source: Americans Are Clueless About Education Spending

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