In his inauguration speech Donald Trump claimed that we have “…an education system flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge.”
The statement contains hyperbole, but it is not far off the mark.
A January, 2017, report from the Department of Education assesses the result of throwing money at schools:
In response to the recession that began in 2007, the U.S. Congress passed, and President Barack Obama signed into law, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Pub. Law 111-5). At an estimated cost of $831 billion, this economic stimulus package sought to save and create jobs, provide temporary relief to those adversely affected by the recession, and invest in education, health, infrastructure, and renewable energy. States and school districts received $100 billion to secure teachers’ jobs and promote innovation in schools. This funding included $3 billion for School Improvement Grants (SIG), one of the Obama administration’s signature programs and one of the largest federal government investments in an education grant program. The SIG program awarded grants to states that agreed to implement one of four school intervention models—transformation, turnaround, restart, or closure—in their lowest-performing schools. Each of the models prescribed specific practices designed to improve student outcomes, including outcomes for high-need students such as English language learners (ELLs) (U.S. Department of Education 2010a).
Although SIG was first authorized in 2001, this evaluation focused on SIG awards granted in 2010, when roughly $3.5 billion in SIG awards were made to 50 states and the District of Columbia, $3 billion of which came from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
Basic finding from Department of Education study:
Overall, across all grades, we found that implementing any SIG-funded model had no significant impacts on math or reading test scores, high school graduation, or college enrollment. (Read 419-page report from the Department of Education )
Perhaps we should get back to basics.