Letter to the Editor of the Honolulu Advertiser, May 8, 2002

Dear Editor:

Renee Ing’s Island Voices (4/30) tells us that the Beverly Hills School District spends $18-20,000 per student versus California’s average of $8,500 and poor, poor Hawaii only spends $6,700. All this being far less than Europe, she tells us, and so all this “shows the extent of our underfunding.”

Since she works for the City, one can understand her numbers being way off.

In fact, according to official data, in 1999 California on average spent $5,700 per student (1) and Beverly Hills spent $7,963 per student.(2)

As for Europe, only Norway and Sweden outspent the U.S. in public education per student—and then barely.

It is not the funding, it is the way we spend that funding on a bloated DOE bureaucracy that is the problem.

A few years ago I wrote about school spending by state and tried to correlate it with student results. I could not; there was no correlation whatsoever.(4)

Cliff Slater


(1) Latest federal data for 1998 showing Hawaii spends more per student that CA. http://www.nces.ed.gov/pubs2001/digest/tables/PDF/table169.pdf

(2) Beverly Hills School District from their Annual Report available at: http://www.beverlyhills.k12.ca.us/pdfs/BHUSDannualreport2001.pdf

(3) A further review finds that no one outspends the U.S. See federal government data at the National Center for Education Statistics. Table 57a. (http://www.nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/2001/pdf/57_2001.pdf).

(4) See chart.