by Tammy Drennan, NEO Senior Writer
Public schooling costs even more than most people think.
P. J. O’Rourke points out in an article for The Weekly Standard.
Figures in the Statistical Abstract of the United States show that we are spending $11,749 per pupil per year in the U.S. public schools, grades pre-K through 12….
In March the Cato Institute issued a report on the cost of public schools. Policy analyst Adam Schaeffer made a detailed examination of the budgets of 18 school districts in the five largest U.S. metro areas and the District of Columbia. He found that school districts were understating their per-pupil spending by between 23 and 90 percent. …
Schaeffer calculated that Los Angeles, which claims $19,000 per-pupil spending, actually spends $25,000. The New York metropolitan area admits to a per-pupil average of $18,700, but the true cost is about $26,900. The District of Columbia’s per-pupil outlay is claimed to be $17,542. The real number is an astonishing $28,170—155 percent more than the average tuition at the famously pricey private academies of the capital region.
So, D.C. is spending $28,000 per public school pupil and getting some of the most dismal results in the country. Clearly, throwing more money at education does not work, yet that is exactly what the vast majority of school reformers want us to do.
Mr. O’Rourke goes on to suggest we board up the schools and do something different.
Here at NEO, we concern ourselves with the “do something different” part of the equation. We don’t need the government’s permission or even money to do something better. We can work with one another to create educational opportunities for children that are both excellent and affordable.

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