Behind the Headline: Teachers and Schools are Funded at a Higher Rate Than Most People Know

On Top of the News
Teachers and Schools are Funded at a Higher Rate Than Most People Know
Washington Times | 8/13/15

Behind the Headline
The 2015 Ed Next Poll on School Reform
Education Next | 8/18/15

In an op-ed in the Washington Times, Paul E. Peterson takes a close look at what the public knows about school spending based on data from the 2015 EdNext poll. He writes

In the school districts where our respondents lived, the expenditures per pupil came to $12,440 per pupil in 2012, the last year for which information is available. But when we asked respondents to estimate per-pupil expenditures in their local school district, they guessed, on average, just $6,307, little more than half actual spending levels. In other words, the public is badly misinformed, very probably because the mainstream media does such a poor job of telling people how much money is actually being spent on their schools.

However, Peterson notes, when people are provided with information about spending levels and about teacher salaries, they change their views on whether more money is needed.

The majority for spending more on schools and paying higher salaries to teachers evaporates when information on current salaries and expenditures is provided. In fact only a third of the public thinks salaries should be upped, once they are told accurate, information about current levels and when they are reminded they need to pay taxes to fund a salary increase.

The public opinion data come from the 2015 EdNext Poll on School Reform.

—Education Next

Last Updated


Notify Me When Education Next

Posts a Big Story

Business + Editorial Office

Program on Education Policy and Governance
Harvard Kennedy School
79 JFK Street, Cambridge, MA 02138
Phone (617) 496-5488
Fax (617) 496-4428

For subscription service to the printed journal
Phone (617) 496-5488

Copyright © 2024 President & Fellows of Harvard College