Private Schools Now 33% Off!

Tuesday, October 24th, 2006

In Private Schools Now 33% Off!, Andrew Coulson notes the surprising difference in funding between private and public schools:

There’s a common perception in this country that public schools are underfunded, and that if they could only spend as much as private schools do, they’d be in clover. When it is pointed out that the average private school tuition is around half of total public school spending per pupil, defenders of the status quo counter that tuition only covers a fraction of total costs.
Among the other fascinating findings is that public schools spend one-and-a-half times as much per pupil as do private schools. Or, looked at the other way, private schools spend a third less than public schools.

Here’s how:

Teachers make up 72 percent of on-site staff in Arizona’s independent education sector, but less than half of on-site staff in the public sector. In order to match the independent sector’s emphasis on teachers over non-teaching staff, Arizona public schools would have to hire roughly 25,000 more teachers and dismiss 21,210 non-teaching employees.

Arnold Kling adds his thoughts:

As I pointed out long ago, one of the miracles of public education is that the school system charges more than $10,000 per student, puts 25 students in the classroom, and still pays teachers (far) less than $100,000 per year. The secret for doing this is to pad the school system (and the teacher’s union) with non-teaching staff.

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