Had America gone over the "fiscal cliff," one conservative
education analyst believes education could have actually
Andrew Coulson, director of the Cato Institute's Center for
Educational freedom, says that had the fiscal crisis not been
avoided, the federal budget for education would have only suffered
about a one-percent reduction. However, cuts would force educators
to look for programs that are effective, eliminating ineffective
ones "to the extent that it encourages people to look for more
efficient ways to help children learn," he explains.
"Yes -- it would absolutely be effective, because for literally
generations, we have been spending money on education at the
federal level that has done absolutely nothing for student
achievement," Coulson submits.
He points out that Washington has spent more than $2 trillion on
K-12 programs in the past 40-45 years -- and there is little to
show for it, he says.
"We're spending actually three times as much on a full K-12
education today as we did in 1970, but achievement at the end of
high school has stagnated, or even declined in some areas, over
that period of time," the Cato Institute spokesman explains.
State legislators this year are wrestling with funding problems
at the local level because of a spotty and uneven economic recovery
that is affecting tax revenues.