ERIC Number: ED385946
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995-Apr
Understanding the Rising Cost of Public Schooling: Exploring the Growth in Instructional Costs.
Miles, Karen Hawley
Many argue that infusions of money have not helped to improve schools and that the American system of public education has failed. This paper describes the problems and puzzles posed by existing data and research on public school spending over time, with a focus on instructional spending. It compares 1990 current account spending to 1960 spending, based on a review of data from three sources: (1) the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES); (2) organizations that collect information on staffing, schools, and working conditions--the Educational Research Service, the American Federation of Teachers, and the National Education Association; and (3) studies of programs at the state, school district, and local levels. The data show that spending on instruction accounted for over 70 percent of the total growth in spending since 1960. Current account expenditures rose from a nationwide average of $1,700 per pupil in 1960 to $5,193 in 1990, which represents an average growth rate of 3.8 percent per year over inflation. No single explanation for the increase in education spending exists. Compensation for teachers and growth in staff were both important contributors to cost per unit. Rising levels of teacher experience and education appear to have pushed teachers to higher average salaries. Pupil-teacher ratios may not square with teacher-reported classroom sizes because of the growing use of teacher aides, teacher time outside of the classroom, growth in programs for students with special needs, and changes in the allocation of teaching resources by school level or subject. One table is included. Contains 63 references. (LMI)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Numerical/Quantitative Data; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (San Francisco, CA, April 18-22, 1995).