Archive for the ‘Budgets’ Category

State Budgets & Education Funding

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

By: Bill Gates

My passionate belief in education has led me to learn more about the intricacies of school budgets and the state budgets that provide most of the money for public education.

The U.S. public education system is gigantic: 50 million students in kindergarten through high school. On average, the U.S. spends about $10,000 per student per year, or about $500 billion total. So lately I’ve become very interested in understanding where the $500 billion comes from, where it goes and whether it might be spent more effectively.

In turn, this has led me to try to understand state budgets, which is where the majority of school money comes from. States spend a lot of society’s public resources, but they’re facing tremendous budgetary pressures from the economic recession. Many have cut education funding. And although the economy and tax revenues may improve over the next few years, states face continuing fiscal pressures from rising pension and healthcare costs, which could squeeze out money for both K-12 and higher education. At best, funding for education is likely to be flat.

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Flip the Curve: Student Achievement vs. School Budget

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

By: Bill Gates

Today I’m speaking to the nation’s Governors at their annual meeting in Washington, DC. They are grappling with more than state budget deficits; they’re also confronting deep education deficits. I’m encouraging them to flip the curve on how much we spend vs. how well students do in school.

Over the last four decades, the per-student cost of running our K-12 schools has more than doubled, while our student achievement has remained flat, and other countries have raced ahead. The same pattern holds for higher education. Spending has climbed, but our percentage of college graduates has dropped compared to other countries.

To build a dynamic 21st century economy and offer every American a high-quality education, we need to flip the curve. For more than 30 years, spending has risen while performance stayed flat. Now we need to raise performance without spending a lot more.

Click here to continue reading and learn more about Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.