Bill Barber’s cheering section / steno pool at McClatchy and WRAL have been bombarding us with stories about draconian spending cuts to education rammed through the GOP-dominated General Assembly. *Kids are gonna get dumber, and it’s ALL the Republicans’ fault.*
Were there really cuts to education spending in the state budget? Cue Sarah Curry of The John Locke Foundation:
This is a simple question with a simple answer – NO. In government, private corporations, not-for-profits, or even in your own home, comparing a budget usually operates on a yearly basis. You evaluate what was spent in one year, and then compare it to the next year. So, when we compare the Education spending in North Carolina’s new budget to last year’s budget, this is what we see:
Obviously, the above numbers make it is easy to see that there was an increase in spending, not a decrease as so many on the Left want you to believe.
So what are they talking about?
Here is the confusion explained. Every year, the General Assembly’s legislative staff creates a forecast, and they present their opinion of funding and revenue needed for government agencies based on their forecast calculations. This is how many things are done in state government, using forecasts instead of actual numbers. So, the left is claiming there is a decrease in education spending based upon this forecast, not any real spending data. This number is an informational baseline for legislators when deciding how much funding an agency might receive. Another baseline used is the amount of money actually spent the prior year. The Left is only using the forecast number, which is much higher than last year’s spending, and causing them to claim there is a cut in spending for education.
In fact, it is only a baseline. Decisions about real world policy have to be made by our elected representatives and not economists or statisticians on the fiscal research staff. This year those representatives of the people decided to increase spending on education by almost $400 million. That is a fact.
I don’t buy into the spin that spending more money improves the quality of the education our kids get. Per-pupil spending for public schools in North Carolina is TWICE what it is in private schools. Private school students end up with higher test scores and — on average — better academic performance than their public school counterparts.
Nationally, the school systems that spend more money per pupil include: DC, New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago and Detroit. (Anybody up for sending their kids off to any of those school systems? )
I am not a big fan of increased government spending. But I AM a fan of the truth.