Editor's note: This post is the fourth entry of a multi-part series of interviews featuring Fordham's own Andy Smarick and Jack Schneider, an assistant professor of education at Holy Cross. It originally appeared in a slightly different form at Education Week's K-12 Schools: Beyond the Rhetoric blog. Earlier entries can be found here, here, and here.
Schneider: We ended our last post with a question about school funding. You seem to be more concerned with the issue of accountability than I am. And I appear to be more concerned with equal funding.
So it seems like maybe we have a chicken and egg issue here.
I don't think you can begin to talk accountability seriously until you have a relatively equal playing field. You seem hesitant to channel funds to organizations that can't meet accountability targets. Can you talk through your position for me?
Smarick: My position on funding in a nutshell is: I want every school in America to have the money necessary so every child can succeed, but we need to appreciate that more funding won't necessarily generate better results.
So let's first put some basic facts on the table.
The U.S. now spends close to $700 billion annually on K–12 education. If our primary and secondary schools were a country, they would have the twentieth-largest GDP in the world, larger than the economies of Sweden and Poland.
We now spend in the neighborhood of $13,000 per student annually (this includes capital outlays and debt). Even after controlling for inflation,...