Why Stop at 65?

Posted on September 13, 2005
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A national effort known as the 65-cent Solution would require school districts to spend at least 65 cents of every dollar "in the classroom," and is expected to be on Arizona's 2006 ballot.

The idea behind the initiative is that too much money is wasted on top-heavy administrative functions and too little money is spent on student learning. There is certainly truth in that. Proponents hope the mandate will ensure that money actually reaches students. Unfortunately, those hopes are unlikely to materialize.

The fundamental problem with the mandate is that it still leaves spending, and reports on spending, in the hands of administrators. Accounting gimmicks and creative itemizing can turn almost any dollar into a "classroom dollar." There is little reason to believe the 65-cent solution will amount to any real change in the education system.

To ensure money reaches students, a direct route is best: education dollars should follow students in the form of education grants to any classroom ? public, charter, or private.

Critically, education grants foster competition between schools seeking to attract students. The competitive process naturally reduces administrative bloat, and puts the focus on student learning. Let's spend the whole dollar and make it count.

Key Links:

- East Valley Tribune: "Initiative backers aim for more classroom funds"
- Arizona Capitol Times: "65 Cent Solution"
-Study: Competition or Consolidation? The School District Consolidation Debate Revisited
-Office of the Auditor General: Dollars Spent in the Classroom
-Hoxby study

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