Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Goldwater Institute: Message sent and received

by Matthew Ladner, Ph.D.
In the Dark Knight, the Joker burns a mountain of cash. "It's not about money," he maniacally explains to shocked onlookers. "It's about sending a message."

This chart shows 2006 state appropriations per full-time student at a variety of institutions. While most of these are first-rate, public universities, one of them is one of the nation's most dysfunctional school districts-the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS).

Even the most frugal university on the list, University of Texas at Austin, employs an army of Ph.Ds, including Nobel- and Pulitzer-Prize winners; has an atom smasher and a nuclear reactor; seven on-campus museums; 17 libraries; a Gutenberg bible; and many other absurdly expensive ornaments.

And yet, DCPS spending per pupil would almost cover the expenses for two students to attend UT. Incidentally, 61 percent of DCPS 4th graders score below basic in reading.

In spite of this obscenity, DC's unions are fiercely resisting the efforts of the Mayor and Chancellor to reform the district.

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