Or at least not much, according to McArdle:
That black bar represents total spending, and as you can see, we spend more on education than most of our peers, not less. To be sure, that is partly driven by our very high spending on tertiary education, aka college. But we spend more than most of our peers at most levels, not just on college.
She admits that “there is obviously an inequality problem in our schools”:
Should we fix the issues with those schools? Absolutely – and doing so might mean spending more money. But that doesn’t mean that we need to increase the overall level of educational funding. It means that we need to identify ways to improve those underperforming schools, then find out how much more it would cost to implement those programs. It is just as likely that improvements will come from changing methods and reallocating resources as that they will require us to pour more money into failing institutions.
However, Max Ehrenfreund flags new research indicating that more funding does make a significant difference:
Beginning 40 years ago, a series of court rulings forced states to reallocate money for education, giving more to schools in poor neighborhoods with less in the way of local resources. … A new study on those who went to school during the school-finance cases a few decades ago found that those who attended districts that were affected by the rulings were more likely to stay in school through high school and college and are making more money today.
The authors, Kirabo Jackson and Claudia Persico of Northwestern University and Rucker Johnson of the University of California, Berkeley, released a revised draft of their as-yet-unpublished paper this week. The benefits were most obvious for students from poor families. They found that a 10 percent increase in the money available for each low-income student resulted in a 9.5 percent increase in students’ earnings as adults. A public investment in schools, they wrote, returned 8.9 percent annually for a typical pupil who started kindergarten in 1980.
Previous Dish on the subject here.