It ain\’t what you spend it\’s how you spend it

Pupil performance has remained “flat” since the mid-90s despite a sharp increase in investment in the education system, it was revealed.

The respected Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) told how the proportion of national wealth spent on schools and colleges soared from 3.6 per cent to 4.5 per cent in 2009 – the sixth highest total in the developed world.

By the time the last Government left office, around £64 billion was being spent on education.

But today’s study revealed that the hike led to “no improvement in student learning outcomes”, with Britain slipping behind many other countries in reading, mathematics and science.

Turning on the tax fire hose doesn\’t actually solve problems. It\’s how you spend money that matters, not how much.

Or, to put it into the English political words, it\’s not resources it\’s the structure.

Another way of putting it is that we should always be interested in the outputs, not the volume of inputs. And a system that can swallow an extra 0.9% of GDP with no change in outputs at all obviously needs a severe restructuring.

7 thoughts on “It ain\’t what you spend it\’s how you spend it”

  1. We have the same question here and it is becoming clearer and clearer that the teacher unions (the barrier to even the smallest experimental changes in a failing system) are ultra-conservative rentseekers.

    The hysteria (and lies) emanating from the unions (here and in the UK) ignore the facts. Labour (UK) and socialists (Spain) have poured money into the system with NEGATIVE results. Amazing but true.

    Yet any reduction in funds, however small, means the ‘dismantling’ of the public education system. Any change is opposed on principle (I shan’t define further the principles I see).

    It is clear to any minimally objective observer and user that changes in the system are necessary and that does not necessarily mean more resources which is the easy answer from lazy (or worse) minds.

    Outcomes are whaqt we have an education system for. If ever more resources have led to poorer outcomes, maybe we need to look further at the inputs and what we are doing with them.

  2. The core of the problem is that we need a change in attitudes more than structure. Teachers more interested in teaching kids something useful than ticking boxes.

  3. @bilbaoboy. I suggest ,”reactionary ” is a better word than ‘conservative” in this case, or even, “luddite”

  4. As in Bilbao, so in France.
    The national curriculum is obviously designed to set a minimum standard. It is then interpreted by the teachers as the maximum they are prepared to do.

  5. I haven’t looked at where the education money is being spent, but as a general point, when budgets are cut maintenance and capital spending are easy targets, and when budgets increase that’s where a lot of the money goes.

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