Arizona Proposition 204: Education spending and student achievement not directly correlated

| September 30 2012

Proponents of Proposition 204 once again have raised the false hope that spending more money on education results in better-educated students. It is not true.

Nevertheless, it is the time-honored cry of the education bureaucracy and teachers’ unions. Their attempts to tap the emotions of taxpayers never cease. Tax dollars rarely reach the classroom where they belong.

Jonathan Butcher of the Goldwater Institute notes the fallacy of linking education spending and student achievement. In a story aptly titled “It’s the Same Old Song,” Butcher points out that there is nothing to show for decades of increased education spending nationwide. The story is the same in Arizona.

“In Arizona, reading scores for 4th graders on the Nation’s Report Card have changed little in the last decade, despite a 47 percent increase in total spending per pupil between 2000 and 2009,” Butcher writes. In fact, nothing changes when spending actually goes down.

“Interestingly, even when funding ticked down 4 percent between 2009 and 2010,” Butcher states, “not only does that make but a small dent in the earlier increases but scores did not change.”

Proposition 204 not only propagates the falsehood that more money for education and student achievement are linked; it tricks the voters by collecting $1 billion a year in a permanent sales tax hike to fund other programs that have nothing to do with education.

Student achievement comes from vigilant parents and good teachers. It is time for voters to end the myth that money is the only way to produce better-educated children and defeat Proposition 204 on Election Day.