In April 2018, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos made the argument that more money isn’t the way to improve public schools. A chart, which she shared on Twitter, showed how school spending had skyrocketed over the last 30 years while student test scores have barely budged. Lackluster academic achievement “is not something we’re going to spend our way out of,” DeVos tweeted.
More than a dozen academic studies have rebutted the claim that money doesn’t matter in education but it’s more complicated to explain why the simple, easy-to-grasp DeVos logic can be misguided. I’m going to give it another try in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
A few weeks ago, in July 2020, education finance experts explained to journalists how schools across the country are going to be hit with big funding cuts this year. With business down or downright closed, tax collections will soon dwindle. States have already announced