Let’s Get Real on Education Funding
Maryland education funding will be higher in 2016 than in any year in state history. By any metric imaginable, Governor Larry Hogan budgeted more money for K-12 education in Maryland for Fiscal Year 2016 than any Governor in Maryland history. Both in real dollars and spending per pupil, a record amount of money will be spent on K-12 education next year. Since the introduction of the Geographic Cost of Education Index (GCEI) in the 2000’s, Larry Hogan is the only Governor to fund any GCEI spending in his first term as Governor.
Despite the rhetoric that you hear, these are all demonstrable facts and are beyond debate.
The left-wing of the Maryland Democratic party is working very hard to try to pull the wool over the eyes of Maryland’s voters. Under the leadership of the Maryland State Education Association, the left is trying to create this narrative that Governor Hogan is trying to shortchange education funding. It’s unfortunate that the teacher’s union is engaging in such deceit and such lies to score political points. They are letting policy and political disagreements with the Governor cloud their judgement, and instead of being grateful that Governor Hogan increased spending and partially funded GCEI, they have instead responded with nasty rhetoric and vitriol. Politically, it makes sense for them to do this. They along with the Democrats have perpetuated the myth for years that Maryland schools are underfunded when the exact opposite is true. Maryland has historically been #1 in per pupil spending, despite mixed reviews on the efficiency of that spending. When Martin O’Malley claimed that Maryland had the best public schools in the nation that was more of a paper ranking based on that ever present per-pupil spending ration, and their actions spoke louder than words.
This hasn’t stopped the MSEA, along with such ideologically simpatico allies like the American Civil Liberties Union, from spending a disproportionate amount of their time crying about school funding and lying about Governor Hogan’s record on it as opposed to create real-world solutions to improve education, particularly in Baltimore which has been a focus of their anger. But Baltimore spends over $17,000 per-pupil ever year on education and has one of the worst public school systems in the country. A Cato Institute study compared the Baltimore City with Fairfax County, VA and not only does the better performing Fairfax County system get significantly less money from the state and federal governments as compared to Baltimore, but they also spend almost 25% less on education, too.
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Now, studies have shown that there is no correlation between education spending and student achievement. No correlation whatsoever. As an exhibit in support of that fact, take note of the fact that as spending increased in Baltimore City schools, standardized test performances went down.
As I wrote on Friday, the problems in Baltimore City schools are structural in nature. Throwing more money at the problem is not going to solve the woes with City public schools, even if Governor Hogan is funding K-12 education at record levels. Which makes it that much more unfortunate and infuriating that the MSEA, the ACLU, and Maryland Democrats are hellbent on making public school kids political pawns instead of trying to work to improve public education and the quality of life of every K-12 student in Maryland. Those outfits really need to stop the lies about Governor Hogan’s school funding, and actually buckle their chinstrap and try to start working to make positive changes in our public schools.