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Friday, January 23, 2009

IS TARGETING PUBLIC EDUCATION A GOOD SOURCE OF FISCAL STIMULI---YES OR NO?

Today's Buggy Topic

It's found at the laudable web-site run by Professor Mark Thoma of the University of Oregon . . . Economist's View. The subject that started the Thoma-thread was the best kinds of targets for fiscal stimuli, and Prof Thoma argued that increased spending on schools was a good candidate.

Prof bug took exception in his three lengthy analyses --- filled, as is his habit, with lots of hard data.  These data showed an extraordinary increase in government spending over the 20th century on our schools, whether measured as a percentage of GDP or amount spent per pupil in the primary and secondary school-systems in our country.  There was a particularly sharp rise in the long-term growth trend after 1960 down to 2004-05.

Worth It?

Prof bug went on to argue that we weren't seeing noticeably improvements in the last 40-45 years despite all this expenditure  . . . a declining trend in quality captured in SAT scores and repetitive international exams administered by the OECD and governments in several dozen countries that test, even four years, the math and science literacy of 15 year-olds.  Most studies also show a clear decline since the late 1960s in the quality of teachers, particularly among women --- mainly, it should be obvious, because the vast surge in professional opportunities for that started then led most talented women into the more prestigious and high-paying careers outside the school system itself.

No need to say more.  Please note that when you click here, you will be taken to page two of the comments --- well over 110 as of early morning January 23rd, 2009.  You will find prof bug's first lengthy analysis on that page.  Click at the bottom of that page and you will be taken to page three, where prof bug replies at even greater length --- with even more illuminating data and analysis --- to his critics.

The same Loony-Tunes half-hysteric who prof bug has mentioned before goes ape once more, much to his amusement and possibly your in this thread.