Opinion: Schools Need Adequate Funding, Not Vouchers
Wall Street Journal by Michael Churchill, Public Interest Law Center Philadelphia, June 30, 2022
It is underfunded schools—serving students with the highest need for additional help—that have deplorable outcomes.
In “Money for Children, Not Schools” (op-ed, June 23), Jeff Yass touts a free-market fantasy of universal school vouchers as a solution to what he calls “failing school systems.” But where schools are adequately funded, students flourish. It is underfunded schools—serving students with the highest need for additional help—that have deplorable outcomes. Let’s take his example of Philadelphia, where state statistics show schools spend $18,754 a year on each student, including part of the federal Covid-19 funding boost. Mr. Yass uses a different figure, $24,000 a student, perhaps because Pennsylvania school districts fund students who attend charter schools, with pass-through revenue included in their budgets. As the Urban Institute noted, the census miscalculates per-student spending for Pennsylvania by including charter funding but not charter students. Philadelphia’s spending per student was almost $1,000 below the state average in 2020-21, while serving a poor student population. When the state’s allowance for students with greater needs are factored in, Philadelphia spent almost $4,000 a student less than the state median. The odds are stacked against students in poorly funded schools.
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