Yes, more with less

Yes, more with less
September 22, 2012

Joy Pullmann

Joy Pullmann (jpullmann@heartland.org) is a research fellow of The Heartland Institute and managing... (read full bio)

Utahns should be proud that their state is improving educational results while keeping its rank as the nation’s lowest state in per-pupil spending. Utah should not worry about falling behind other states in the spending race.

Although Tribune editors seem not to like this fact, research has consistently shown that increasing education spending does not increase education quality. One of the latest studies to demonstrate this was a huge Harvard University data comparison across every state. As study author Paul Peterson noted, when school districts get more money, they are not likely to spend it in the most effective ways. In other words, school districts tend to treat extra money like ice cream: a tasty, fattening and short-lived snack.
In an age of necessary government spending cuts, Utah should be a model for other states rather than derided by its own for a difficult and significant success.

Joy Pullmann Research fellow, Heartland Institute

Chicago

Copyright 2012 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Showing 1-10 of 35 comments

RMHartman independant, free thinker, observer of the human condition.

It's pretty obvious to me that Ms. Pullmann has never visited public K-12 in Utah. She has never seen the notes form teachers, asking parents to send in paper, kleenex, crayons, pencils...basic supplies which the school budgets can not pay for. Perhaps Ms. Pullmann would like to check the dates of the textbooks our public schools are using. She might want to ask the teachers when they last recieved a real raise. Or maybe she should ask first-year teachers how much they are paid.
Then she can perhaps understand why so many of Utah's taxpayers (parents) are unahhpy with our educational budget shortfalls.

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1 week ago
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Sandy_Man

Jonathan Kozol, noted education scholar, author, speaker, often speaks to groups of blue chip CEOs. During a reception following one of his speeches, one CEO asked him, "But can you really solve it by throwing money at it?" Kozol replied, "it works for you children".

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1 week ago
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utesby5

Left of Utah

If one bothers to access the source that Ms. Pullmann is referencing one would find little if any justification for her conclusions. Indeed on the position of Ms Pullmann that Utah should be proud of getting a lot "bang for our buck" is not specifically mentioned.

The report says: " Some states received more educational bang for their additional expenditure buck than others. To ascertain which states were receiving the most from their incremental dollars, we ranked the states on a "points per added dollar" basis. Michigan, Indiana, Idaho, North Carolina, Colorado and Florida made the most achievement gains for every incremental dollar spent over the past two decades. At the other end of the spectrum are the states that received little back in terms of improved test-score performance from increments in per-pupil expenditures-Maine, Wyoming, Iowa, New York and Nebraska. However, we don not know which kinds of expenditure prove to be the most productive and whether there are other factors that could explain variation in productivity among the states."

The report goes on to say while discussing if there is a positive correlation between spending and educational gains or if other factors would be the cause, "None of these propositions have been adequately tested, however, so any conclusions concerning the sources of educational gains must remain suggestive."

Ms.Pullmann is at best deceptive in claiming the report justifies her illogic and at worst disingenuous.

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1 week ago
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utesby5

Left of Utah

Reductio ad absurdum; If there is no relationship between what is spent on education and the quality of that education, then society should not spend any money on education what so ever. Yet, in a free market system, the best and most elite colleges in the country charge more for their education than state or city funded colleges. Either Ms. Pullmann's thesis is fatally flawed or the free market system of determining education value is a myth.

If Ms. Pullmann is so naive as to think that we as a society can get something for nothing, I can only hope that she takes a similar position for getting paid by the Heartland Institute for her intellectually dishonest and illogical bunk that is her letter.

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1 week ago
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ChairmanMauzer

Joy, what do you think of the fact that Utah ranks last when compared with states with similar socioeconomic demographics? You get what you pay for. The Heartland Institute is a joke.

(Edited by author 1 week ago)

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1 week ago
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lamecrow

Crustaceous and curmudgeonized.

...but not a funny one...

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1 week ago
in reply to ChairmanMauzer
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Shamus_McOdin

Joy you may have a point. I have four friends that went to College and finished with credentials to teach. Can you answer me honestly how "do more with less" works when each makes more money waiting tables at Chill's and serving cocktails in bars than they would teaching in the public schools of Utah?

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1 week ago
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Armand Winter

Chicago Public Schools currently enjoy a higher graduation rate than the 70% rate in Tooele.

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1 week ago
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Shelama

Any meaningful discussion of education and education outcomes needs to include the impact of the home and family life.

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1 week ago
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1stedition

I don't think anyone disagrees with that.

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2 days ago
in reply to Shelama

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Joy Pullmann

Joy Pullmann (jpullmann@heartland.org) is a research fellow of The Heartland Institute and managing... (read full bio)
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