ERIC Number: ED319866
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1989-Nov-2
Reference Count: N/A
The Performance of America's Primary and Secondary Schools.
Niskanen, William A.
A comparison of educational inputs and outputs in 1975 and 1985 indicates that the current system of financing, organizing, and regulating America's public schools has failed. The following inputs are examined: (1) school buildings; (2) teachers; (3) administrators; (4) support personnel; (5) supplies; and (6) students. The following outputs are examined: (1) school completion and advancement rates; (2) composite scores on standardized college admission tests; and (3) post-school employment and earnings. The most important changes in school inputs over the decade were the divergent trends in real expenditures and enrollment between the public and private schools. Real expenditures by the public schools increased substantially, despite a substantial decline in enrollment. Real expenditures by the private schools decreased slightly, despite a substantial increase in enrollment. Measures of school outputs remained disturbingly consistent over the decade. The level of educational output per student did not change much, despite the substantial increase in real expenditures per student. Furthermore, international comparisons of performance on mathematics and science tests indicate that the American economy will not be able to maintain its leadership in industrial technology unless even the best American students' performance can be improved. Constant concern about educational reform since 1985 has not resulted in a change in outputs. The lack of improvement must be attributed to changes in the school environment and not to demographic and social conditions. Statistical data are included on five tables. A list of 14 references is appended. (FMW)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Cato Inst., Washington, DC.
Note: Paper presented at the Conference on Education in the Inner City (Washington, DC, November 2, 1989).