Update: Debunking Latest Education Spending Report by Special Interest Group – AZ student population up 22.7% while funding only grows 20%


Update to post below:

US Census Department Figures show that the Arizona population increased 28.6% from April of 2000 to July 2009.


During the same period, average daily membership (the term used to refer to the total enrollment of students through the first 100 days of the school year) in Arizona schools increased 22.7%.  (According to a report to the Arizona Senate) .


So when special interest groups decry a 20% increase in education funding in the 2000-2009 period, they should notice that this increase did not even keep up with the increase in the number of school children in Arizona during the same period.


Original Post


In another effort to undermine the value of public education, the libertarian/limited-government-through-litigation group The Goldwater Institute sent out another email with misleading, outdated and disingenuous information.  Their “pitch” is that Arizona is spending more for education, and getting less for it.


However, this dog won’t hunt.  This is an old message that has been debunked repeatedly.   In 1979 Arizona was investing about 69% of the total general fund budget on K-12 schools, community colleges and universities.  Today about 57% of our state budget is devoted to our schools.  We are essentially paying LESS, and demanding MORE.

While Arizona’s overall spending on education has increased during that same time period, it has not kept up with the growth in our population.  The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) reported recently that Arizona actually spent more per K-12 student in 1986 than we did in 2006. This bears repeating:  Arizona actually spent $61 less per student than we did 20 years prior…and those latest figures were released before the most recent spending cuts.  The ALEC report also concurs with all of the other national education surveys that Arizona is ranked at the very bottom for educational investment among US states.

“How much is Arizona spending per student?”

The fact is that national surveys report that Arizona spends anywhere between $5,255 – $7,537 per student. However, special interest groups are claiming that we spend anywhere from $9,500 to “over $10,000” per student.  Notably ATRA, the fiscally conservative Arizona Tax Research Association, agrees that Arizona funding is $6,200* per student.
…..* ATRA Special Report, April 2009 “K-12 Education Funding – How Do We Compare

As a general rule, other states identify three expenditures for per student spending:

• Teacher Salary

• Maintenance and Operations (M&O) costs to run the school

• Costs for the items directly used by the students in the classroom

The per pupil funding dollar is derived by adding total dollars spent of the above three items and dividing by the actual number of students served.


“Reactionary groups claim Arizona is spending $9,700 per student.  How did they calculate that number?”


In short, it’s a  numbers game.


They use all the income on the JLBC Report (1/27/09), including lunch money, after school sports, adult night programs, adjacent ways (sewer & road repairs as a result of city maintenance), and other non-revenue dollars and divide it by the number of students.


No other state counts this in their per student funding numbers. Reactionary groups use these numbers and include these things because they want to inflate this data in a period where Arizona is cutting education spending.  They are using the hard work of the JLBC to spin their message.


In taking a closer look at the 2000-2009 JLBC report, it is important to note that the 2009 figures are an estimate.  They do not include the cuts of $270M to K-12 Education or the elimination of $362M in New School Facilities (NSF) funding made during 2009.


These are the FACTS that you need to know:

•  Arizona spends less per student than almost any other state in the nation
•  National Education Association: 51st
•  U.S. Census Bureau: 49th
•  National Center for Education Statistics: 48th
•  Education Week: 50th
•  American Legislative exchange Council: 50th
•  Average reported difference between what Arizona spends per student and what the average US state invests = $3,068 per student


“Are these statistics acceptable for a 21st century classroom?”

Absolutely not.


For a full report on the above statistics, see Arizona K-12 EXAMINATION OF THE FACTS 2009, pdf.




US Population Statistics: U.S. Census Bureau, Cumulative Estimates of Population Change for the United States, Regions, States, and Puerto Rico and Region and State Rankings: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2008 http://www.census.gov/popest/states/NST-pop-chg.html,

State General Fund Expenditures: The Fiscal Survey of States, National Governor’s Association, June 2009, http://www.nasbo.org/Publications/PDFs/FSSpring2009.pdf

Projected State Budget Deficits: Recession Continues to Batter State Budgets; State Responses Could Slow Recovery, Center on Budget Policy & Priorities, Table I, http://www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=view&id=711

Education Expenditures and State Rankings:  American Legislative Council,  The Report Card on American Education: A State-by-State Analysis, 2008 http://www.alec.org/am/pdf/ReportCard08.pdf

GDP by State:  Bureau of Economic Analysis, Economic Slowdown Widespread Among States in 2008, Table 1 Real GDP by State 2005-2008, http://www.bea.gov/newsreleases/regional/gdp_state/gsp_newsrelease.htmysi

General Fund Spending as a Percent of Personal Income, Joint Legislative Budget Committee, 2009, http://www.azleg.gov/jlbc/gf%25azpi%2010-08.pdf

Arizona corporate and individual tax statistics: Joint Legislative Budget Committee, 2008 http://www.azleg.gov/jlbc/08taxbook/08taxbk.pdf

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33 Responses to “Update: Debunking Latest Education Spending Report by Special Interest Group – AZ student population up 22.7% while funding only grows 20%”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Astrid Klocke, AZ Education Network. AZ Education Network said: Spin cycle unbalanced. AEN debunks latest "report" on K-12 education spending: http://tiny.cc/TInZR […]

  2. AZ ED Watch says:

    Dear AEN,

    You failed to address the MAIN point of the Goldwater email. Spending is up 20%, after adjusting for inflation, yet schools have shown little academic progress.

    All you seem to do is complain about not enough money for education, yet you never present solutions or address improving achievement. Until that happens your broken record will carry no weight.

    Goldwater has suggested reforms. How about you step up and do the same.



  3. aenadmin says:

    Dear AZEW,

    Perhaps we should have included the gross census data instead of just the link; AZ population grew 26.7% from April 1, 2000-July 1, 2008 (from US Census Bureau: http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/04000.html). There have been no adjustments for population increases. “If they come, you MUST educate them.” Our spending is below our education growth curve. Funding, even adjusted for inflation, is still lagging. Hope this helps!

  4. Steve says:

    AZ Ed Watch,

    Wow, your tone is quite sarcastic. I’ve never posted on this site, but have been following their posts. This group has done an amazing job. I see that your prior comments are always anti-public education. Why do you visit this site if all you want to do is slam it instead of digest the information and facts. It seems like you LOOK for reasons to slam them.

    I read the link you gave…yawn. School choice. Been there, done that. AZ is already a leader in school choice–we’ve got open enrollment, both in district and outside of district, public magnet schools within districts!; we’ve got charter schools; we’ve got tax credits for private schools… Why would AEN write up posts on a fait accompli? Done.


  5. AZ ED Watch says:

    That inflation adjusted 20% is a per pupil number, isn’t it?

  6. Steve says:

    AZ ED Watch, if you don’t understand what you are reading, stop making snarky comments. If you can’t comprehend the information, I suggest you keep your comments to yourself. Incidentally, the 20% inflated adjusted numbers are bogus and meant to be sensationalistic and propagate the GIs agenda for privatization of education in the form of vouchers for private schools, and a rapid growth in largely unregulated charter schools (which looks to be changing as the Charter School board is looking to close the doors on underperforming schools). Most groups, including Tom Horne’s office, ALEC, etc use the more accurate number of approximately $7500 per pupil.

  7. Dennis says:

    Here’s a really great breakdown of the lack of facts on Matthew Ladner’s part: http://www.blogforarizona.com/blog/2010/01/fools-gold-gi-creates-aen-straw-man.html

  8. Parent X says:

    Thanks Dennis – I just read and commented on the Blog for Arizona post.

    Imagine for a moment of our politicians and special interest groups channeled all of the time they are currently spending trying to spin straw into gold into real solutions for fixing our state budget. Arizona is in a state of emergency, and they appear to be hell bent on driving home a political ideology instead of addressing the issues at hand.

    Shame on Matthew Ladner. This kind of stunt calls into question the integrity of everything the Goldwater Institute puts out.

  9. AZ Ed Watch says:

    Come on AEN, try and keep up.

    Mr. Ladner says the PER PUPIL M&O dollars are up 20% per the JLBC staff. Unadjusted state M&O funding was up 107% from 2.4 billion in 2000 to 5.08 billion estimated for 2009.

    And again inflation adjusted per pupil spending is up 20%, yet there is no evidence of improved academic achievement.

    We look forward to your correction.


  10. Motivated Voter says:

    @AZ Ed Watch

    AZ Ed Watch: I can’t speak for the folks who run the AEN website, but as a parent and long-time data geek myself I think you are the one who is missing the point.

    I just re-read the posts above and I don’t see any place where AEN is arguing against the JLBC report numbers. They are simply pointing out that Mr. Ladner’s attempt to spin the data is very erroneous and disjointed. We’re a state that has grown through a very big growth spurt recently, and yet our educational investment has not kept up. We spend less per student than we did in the 1980’s and we expect more out of our schools than ever before.

    I know that my friends are sick and tired of the dishonest and disingenuous politicking in this state. We have a major fiscal crisis on our hands, and there is no way that we’ll ever improve our situation if people aren’t dealing in facts. You can tell your pals at Goldwater that they won’t be seeing any me (or my checkbook) at the dinners anymore. AEN – do you accept ccard donations??

  11. AZ Ed Watch says:

    Motivated Voter,

    We were referring specifically to the update at the top of the post.

    “So when special interest groups decry a 20% increase in education funding in the 2000-2009 period, they should notice that this increase did not even keep up with the increase in the number of school children in Arizona during the same period.”

    There was 20% M&O per pupil increase in funding and a 107% unadjusted increase. This more than kept up with population growth.

  12. Sam D says:

    AZ Ed Watch:

    Even if that 20% you and Ladner argue has adjusted for population growth, the point is we’re STILL spending less than we were 20 years ago — when the population AND our economy wasn’t nearly as robust as recent years. Additionally, I can’t for the life of me figure out how you can proclaim that the 20% “more than kept up with population growth” when our state grew 28.6%. Even by your logic, we STILL missed the bar by 8.6%. Might be small potatoes to you, but I assure you, my child’s classroom could benefit greatly from an 8% bump in per pupil dollars.

    And Ladner has to make up his mind…or at least make up the mind of the Legislators he lobbies. Because Sen. Melvin says we are doing great things with less money…and Ladner says we’re spending more money and getting worse results…so people…you gotta get on the same page otherwise Arizonans will turn it for you on election day at the polls.

  13. Saddlebrook says:

    Nice website. I find it hard to get good, factual information these days. Keep it up.

  14. Arizona taxpayers have increased inflation-adjusted per pupil current expenditures over the interval 2000-2009. See NCES Digest of Education Statistics. This does not include capital improvements. For that, you need total expenditures. Google-search “Public Education Financial Survey”, and compare selected years. You will have to make the inflation adjustment yourself, there.

    Detailed budget arguments miss the main point. It does not take 12 years at $7,749 (Arizona total expenditures per pupil, 2005-2006, according to NCES) or $6,515 (Arizona, current expenditures per pupil, 2005-2006) to teach a normal child to read and compute. Most vocational training occurs more effectively on the job than in a classroom. State (government, generally) provision of History, Economics, and Civics instruction is a threat to democracy, just as State operation of newspapers would be (is, in totalitarian countries). Richard Arkwright, Cyrus McCormick, and Thomas Edison were homeschooled. Edison apprenticed at 14. Hyram Maxim left school at 13 and apprenticed. David Farragut joined the US Navy at 9, went to sea at 11, and commanded his first ship at 15. The Wright brothers were high school dropouts. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison never attended a government-operated school.

    In the US, the term “the public school system” describes a policy which includes:
    a) compulsory attendance (truancy) statutes, applied to students
    b) compulsory attendance (educational neglect) statutes, applied to parents
    c) Constitutional provisions (in some US States) and laws or district policies (in other US States) which restrict parents’ options for the use of the taxpayers’ pre-college education subsidy to schools operated by dues-paying members of the NEA/AFT/AFSCME cartel
    d) minimum wage laws and child labor laws which place on-the-job training off limits to most children.

    This policy originated in the impulse to indoctrinate children into the State religion (google-search “That Olde Deceiver, Satan Act”), fed on anti-Catholic bigotry, and survives on dedicated lobbying by current recipients of the US taxpayers’ $600 billion+ K-12 education subsidy.

  15. […] Update: Debunking Latest Education Spending Report by Special … […]

  16. Lisa H says:

    Hi Malcolm

    I’m Lisa, one of the founders of AEN. I visited your web link after reading your comment above to try and gain a better understanding of your viewpoint.

    Though I personally can’t agree with the tone of your website, I can agree with you on two things. One – the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) is a reputable data source, and you will find that we use their statistics on our website. Two – there is no singular, standard path to learning.

    Beyond that, our opinions greatly diverge. While I want to steer clear of your wild (and quite frankly, offensive) allegations about cartels and “Satan Acts”, I think it is relevant to respond to your main assertion, which is – I think – that we’d be better off without ‘government schools’ and organized education. This is a long, data-rich response, but I think it is necessary to put the facts in writing.

    You have listed a string of names of people who you feel personify the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of homeschooling and as shining examples of why we don’t need organized public education. The irony, however, is that most of the men on your list would most likely disagree with your assertions. Your argument overlooks two very important factors:

    1. Most of the families on your list did not choose homeschooling (Edison’s mom being the notable exception) from an array of available options. During their time, public education was not an option to most of them and many of their families could ill afford the costs of private school.

    2. Of all the distinguished, intelligent men of means on your list, there isn’t a single one of them who chose to educate their children at home. In fact quite the opposite is true – ALL of men you listed sent their own children to school, and many of them placed a great deal of intellectual and financial capital into furthering educational institutions. Consider your list again:

    • Despite his obvious intellectual gifts, SIR RICHARD ARKWRIGHT was denied a chance to attend school because parents could not come up with enough money to support private tuition in 1732. When Sir Arkwright became a father himself, he sent his son to school. Although he did not contribute much financially to his daughter’s upbringing, he did ensure that he set enough money aside for her to attend the best school in Derby…and this was during an era when many people did not consider a woman’s education to be a worthy investment.

    CYRUS McCORMICK didn’t receive much beyond a grammar school education himself, but he and his heirs invested heavily in schools. In South Carolina you can still find McCormick County School District, where Mrs. McCormick donated land for the McCormick Graded School in 1884. McCormick’s daughter, Mrs. Emmons Blaine, later donated $1,000,000 in 1901 to Col. Francis Parker, who is often referred to as the “father of progressive education”. Parker produced innovations that are still with us today: specialized teachers, assemblies and the teacher of art, music and drama in schools.

    THOMAS EDISON (the only person on your list that was purposefully homeschooled despite having other options) shipped his eldest sons and daughters off to boarding schools. The child that he held in the highest esteem, Theodore Edison, was sent to MIT.

    • The WRIGHT BROTHERS shouldn’t be on your list – they actually attended public schools well into their teens. Orville opted for college prep courses in lieu of standard senior studies and did not receive a formal diploma. Wilbur excelled at Richmond High School in Indiana and later enrolled in college prep courses at Central High in Dayton. Neither of the brothers had children.

    HIRAM MAXIM sent his son Hiram Percy Maxim to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he became a famous inventor in his own right. An interesting aside – Hiram Percy’s daughter, Percy Maxim Lee, founded a school in Connecticut and created the Education Fund for the League of Women Voters. She testified against the misinformation campaigns of Senator Joseph McCarthy in 1955 and was an ardent supporter of informed citizen participation in government.

    ADMIRAL DAVID FARRAGUT, who was by many accounts a very intellectual man, still did not choose to educate own son on his own. His son Loyall graduated from West Point while his father was still in the Navy.

    • Although GEORGE WASHINGTONS’s elder brothers were able to attend school in England, the death of his father placed a huge financial burden on his family and ended his formal education at age 15. Throughout his life, Washington regarded his education as second-rate and continuously worked on self-study. He sent his stepson to King’s College (now known as Columbia) and bequeathed money for both a ‘free school’ in Virginia and for the establishment of a national university. In his will he wrote:

    “That as it has always been a source of serious regret with me, to see the youth of these United States sent to foreign Countries for the purpose of Education…it has been my ardent wish to see a plan devised on a liberal scale, which would have a tendency to sprd systematic ideas through all parts of this rising Empire, thereby to do away local attachments and State prejudices, as far as the nature of things would, or indeed ought to admit, from our National Councils. Looking anxiously forward to the accomplishment of so desirable an object as this is (in my estimation) my mind has not been able to contemplate any plan more likely to effect the measure than the establishment of a UNIVERSITY in a central part of the United States, to which the youth of fortune and talents from all parts thereof might be sent for the completion of their Education in all the branches of polite literature; in arts and Sciences, in acquiring knowledge in the principles of Politics & good Government…”

    “… I give and bequeath in perpetuity the fifty shares which I hold in the Potomac Company (under the aforesaid Acts of the Legislature of Virginia) towards the endowment of a UNIVERSITY to be established within the limits of the District of Columbia, under the auspices of the General Government…”

    JAMES MADISON, one of the premier authors of our Constitution, was educated by expensive private tutors at home and then went on to attend the College of New Jersey (one of the nine original Colonial Colleges – now known as Princeton). He was also a staunch supporter of government-funded education.

    In a letter to William Taylor Barry in 1922, he wrote in support of a recent move to fund public schools in Kentucky: “The liberal appropriations made by the Legislature of Kentucky for a general system of Education cannot be too much applauded. A popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives…”

    “…(Kentucky’s) Its rapid growth & signal prosperity in this character have afforded me much pleasure; which is not a little enhanced by the enlightened patriotism which is now providing for the State a Plan of Education embracing every class of Citizens, and every grade & department of Knowledge. No error is more certain than the one proceeding from a hasty & superficial view of the subject: that the people at large have no interest in the establishment of Academies, Colleges, and Universities, where a few only, and those not of the poorer classes can obtain for their sons the advantages of superior education. It is thought to be unjust that all should be taxed for the benefit of a part, and that too the part least needing it.

    If provision were not made at the same time for every part, the objection would be a natural one. But, besides the consideration when the higher Seminaries belong to a plan of general education, that it is better for the poorer classes to have the aid of the richer by a general tax on property, than that every parent should provide at his own expense for the education of his children, it is certain that every Class is interested in establishments which give to the human mind its highest improvements, and to every Country its truest and most durable celebrity.

    Learned Institutions ought to be favorite objects with every free people. They throw that light over the public mind which is the best security against crafty & dangerous encroachments on the public liberty. They are the nurseries of skilful Teachers for the schools distributed throughout the Community. They are themselves schools for the particular talents required for some of the Public Trusts, on the able execution of which the welfare of the people depends. They multiply the educated individuals from among whom the people may elect a due portion of their public Agents of every description; more especially of those who are to frame the laws; by the perspicuity, the consistency, and the stability, as well as by the just & equal spirit of which the great social purposes are to be answered.”

    THOMAS JEFFERSON was passionate about education, and during his life he contemplated many aspects of how to educate our growing nation. He concluded that education was the primary investment that needed to be made in order to ensure our economic success and prolonged liberty. His writings included the following statements about public education funding:

    (Letter to George Wythe, 1786) “I think by far the most important bill in our whole code, is that for the diffusion of knowledge among the people. No other sure foundation can be devised for the preservation of freedom and happiness… The tax which will be paid for this purpose is not more than the thousandth part of what will be paid to kings, priests and nobles who will rise up among us if we leave the people in ignorance.”

    (Autobiography 1821) “I… [proposed] three distinct grades of education, reaching all classes. 1. Elementary schools for all children generally, rich and poor. 2. Colleges for a middle degree of instruction, calculated for the common purposes of life and such as should be desirable for all who were in easy circumstances. And 3d. an ultimate grade for teaching the sciences generally and in their highest degree… The expenses of [the elementary] schools should be borne by the inhabitants of the county, every one in proportion to his general tax-rate.”

  17. aenadmin says:

    Thank you for your comments Motivated Voter and your implied donation offer ;). We are operating as a true nonprofit at the moment – parent volunteers contribute to the website and we each chip in for the occasional copying fees, etc. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you’d ever like to become actively engaged in our effort: info@arizonaeducationnetwork.com.

  18. I offer my list of names in opposition to two claimes commonly made in support of State (government, generally)-operated schools:
    1) “Public schools are necessary for democracy”. Flat false. The US was a democracy (democratic federal republic) before State-operated schools became the norm. Further, a majority of students take tax support to independent or parochial schools in Belgium, Hong Kong, Ireland, and the Netherlands (World Bank ststistics say otherwise, but they disagree with several sources and I suspect they rely on an idiosyncratic definition of “public”).
    2) “Public schools gave us modern industrial society”. Again, flat false.

    “That Olde Deceiver, Satan, Act” is so called because “That Olde Deceiver, Satan” appears in the “whereas” part of the bill for compulsory attendance in colonial Massachusetts (c. 1644).

    Einstein opposed compulsory attendance. Gandhi opposed compulsory attendance. Here’s a thought experiment: place industries on a continuum, from “Very unlikely candidate for State operation” to “Very Likely candidate for State operation”. What criteria do you use? Why place National defense at the “very likely” end and grocery store at the “very unlikely” end? From State operation of which industry does society as a whole benefit? I suggest that the difference will relate to economies of scale and to the relative importance of generalized expertise versus local knowledge. Where an industry features signifinant economies of scale, where inputs and outputs are uniform, an industry may be scaled up and is a reasonable candidate for centralized operation. Where economies of scale are absent, and where inputs and outputs are highly variable, an industry is a highly unlikely candidate for State operation.

    Beyond a very low level, there are no economies of scale at the delivery end of the education business as it currently operates. Most “expertise” in Education is bogus. Witness the fads which regularly wash over the State-monopoly education industry (e.g., Whole Language, Discovery Math, Portfolio assessment, block scheduling).

    Numerous lines of evidence support the following propositions:
    a) As institutions take from individual parents the power to determine for their own children the course of instruction and the pace and method of instruction, overall system performance falls.
    b) Political control of school harms most the children of the least politically adept parents.

    The case for State subsidies to the education industry is weak. The “charity” argument relies on “public goods” analysis of the “free rider” problem. Corporate oversight is a public good. The State itself is a corporation. Oversight of State functions is a public good which the State itself cannot provide. Therefore, State assumption of responsibility for the provision of charity (e.g., tax support of education of poor parents) transforms the “free rider” problem at the root of “public goods” analysis but does not eliminate it.

    The case for State operation of schools for the general population is non-existent. Given compulsory attendance, some the State will to compel some school to accept students rejected everywhere else. Call these default-option schools “the public schools”. Contracts for the operation of these schools could be let every few years, on competitive bid. I do not expect that in a voucher-subsidized competitive market in education services such default-option schools would enroll more than 10% of the total student population. That is the fraction of students in government schools in Hong Kong and Ireland (HK data from Assistant to the Minister of Education Michael Lee, by e-mail, Ireland data from OECD “Education at a Glance”).

    Marvin Minsky
    Communications of the Association for Computing Machinery )1994-July

    Minsky:”…the evidence is that many of our foremost achievers developed under conditions that are not much like those of present-day mass education. Robert Lawler just showed me a paper by Harold Macurdy on the child pattern of genius. Macurdy reviews the early education of many eminent people from the last couple of centuries and concludes (1) that most of them had an enormous amount of attention paid to them by one or both parents and (2) that generally they were relatively isolated from other children. This is very different from what most people today consider an ideal school. It seems to me that much of what we call education is really socialization. Consider what we do to our kids. Is it really a good idea to send your 6-year-old into a room full of 6-year-olds, and then, the next year, to put your 7-year-old in with 7-year-olds, and so on? A simple recursive argument suggests this exposes them to a real danger of all growing up with the minds of 6-year-olds. And, so far as I can see, that’s exactly what happens.
    Our present culture may be largely shaped by this strange idea of isolating children’s thought from adult thought. Perhaps the way our culture educates its children better explains why most of us come out as dumb as they do, than it explains how some of us come out as smart as they do.”

    Please read this article on artificially extended adolescence by Ted Kolderie.
    Please read West, E.G.
    Education Vouchers in Principle and Practice: A Survey
    The World Bank Research Observer Feb, 1997, p.87

  19. Lisa H says:

    @Malcolm Kirkpatrick
    Hi Malcolm:

    Lisa again. I’m not sure if you are on the right website or not. There are plenty of websites out there where you can unleash ideology without letting the facts get in the way. This isn’t one of them.

    That isn’t to say that we don’t want to hear from you. We do. Debate and opinion are important right now as we try to address education in our community. We just ask that you restrain any urge to post “facts” that simply aren’t true on our website (Anyone following this string will probably be relieved that I won’t go into your last post point-by-point, but as someone whose own children attended ‘government schools’ in Ireland, I can tell you that your attempt to characterize their system is wildly off base. Anyone who would like information on Irish education and taxation, please email directly at lisa@arizonaeducationnetwork.com)

    We also ask that you stay on topic. This post was about specific school funding statistics in Arizona. We aren’t debating whether or not public education is Satan’s work or not. Again, if you’d like to start up a individual dialogue on any topic, please feel free to email me at the address above.

  20. Jeremy says:

    “In 1979 Arizona was investing about 69% of the total general fund budget on K-12 schools, community colleges and universities. Today about 57% of our state budget is devoted to our schools. We are essentially paying LESS, and demanding MORE.”

    …just meandering through…but this statement means nothing without additional qualifiers….please go back to stats 101. For example, the budget in 1979 was $1000 (example only), and you spent $690 on education. In 2010, the state budget is $1,000,000 (example only) and you spend $$570,000 on education, guess what…your statements are plainly false. Without more information, you are simply spinning stats into a credibility blackhole.

  21. aenadmin says:


    Hi Jeremy:

    Yes – you are right – education spending as a proportion of the state General Fund expenditures means nothing without additional qualifiers. Please take a moment and meander further through the post and read the other statistics that are provided. We also addressed at length how spending statistics needs to be placed in context in our Arizona K-12 Examination of the Facts 2009 link above.

  22. @Jeremy
    More directly, if I spend 10% of my gross income on food and Bill Gates spends 0.0001% of his gross income on food, does that mean Bill Gates is malnourished? I bet he spends a smaller fraction of his gross income on toothpaste than I do, also.

  23. @Motivated Voter
    “We spend less per student than we did in the 1980’s and we expect more out of our schools than ever before.”
    Not according to this table from the Digest of Education Statistics.

  24. aenadmin says:

    Dear AEN Readers,

    We have had to delete several comments that were off topic or contained inappropriate language. Please keep in mind that from time to time, students do access our site.

    If you would like to engage in conversation about a different topic, you can contact our team anytime at info@arizonaeducationnetwork.com.

    Thank You~
    Today’s Site Moderator

  25. From the Digest of Education Statistics…

    a=Total revenues Arizona (2005-2006) $8,833,520,000
    b=Total revenues Arizona (1991-1992) $3,226,760,000

    c=Enrollment, Arizona (Fall, 2006) 1,065,082
    d=Enrollment, Arizona (fall, 1992) 673,477

    The calculator says…
    a/c= $8293.00
    b/d= $4791.00

    You will have to adjust for inflation.

    AEN editors note to Malcolm’s post: no need to get your calculators out – the NCES Digest of Education Statistics post of per-pupil expenditures from 1959 to 2006 with adjustments for inflation (2006 dollars) can be found here.

  26. Done.
    In general, increasing costs (e.g., taxes) are nothing to celebrate.
    “What works?” is an empirical question which only an experiment (e.g., a competitive market in goods and services) can answer. “How much money does it take to get a child from counting her toes to Calc II?” is an empirical question. The structure of the industry strongly influences costs.

  27. J. Davidson says:

    AEN~ Stop feeding the trolls. Stop engaging in rational conversation with these crazies. Public Education=work of satan? Please, you are never going to have a rational discussion with passengers on the Crazy Train. Just stop interacting with them. Ignore them. Done.

  28. Chris K says:

    The posts by Malcolm above would be entertaining if I didn’t have kids in public school right now. It ain’t too often that you can tie in the Satan Act and Bill Gate’s toothpaste bill in one conversation.

    I do have kids in AZ schools though so all the sideshow isn’t funny. I don’t care how they spin it – the fact that my kid is in a class of 38 right now is horrible and any excuse to justify it is a crock. My business won’t hold adult training courses with anything over 15 grown-ups and you don’t need a study to tell you that trying to serve the educational needs of 38 kids on your own is a bit like trying to herd a bunch of cats in the rain.

  29. aenadmin says:

    J Davidson – while we really appreciate everyone taking the time to share their opinions, we do ask that you keep it respectful and on-topic.

    Since this has moved so far afield we are closing this post to further comments.

    If you have something else that you feel is relevant to the initial post, please don’t hesitate to contact us at info@arizonaeducationnetwork.com (or to lisa@educationnetwork.com if your input pertains to her comments in the string above).

  30. aenadmin says:

    There is an irony in being a parent and a moderator of an internet site… However, I have received multiple posts to this closed thread, and feel the need to make one follow-up post.

    Malcolm spent some time writing about the misrepresentation of his remark about public ed=work of satan. In fact, this was not what he meant, and his comment was actually pro-public education.

    J. Davidson wrote in that apparently we don’t know what a “troll” is. It is a term for someone who high jacks threads on the web, not an ogre living under a bridge. According to Urban Dictionary:


    1a. Noun
    One who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument.

    1b. Noun
    A person who, on a message forum of some type, attacks and flames other members of the forum for any of a number of reasons such as rank, previous disagreements, sex, status, etc. A troll usually flames threads without staying on topic, unlike a “Flamer” who flames a thread because he/she disagrees with the content of the thread.

    1c. Noun
    A member of an internet forum who continually harangues and harasses others. Someone with nothing worthwhile to add to a certain conversation, but rather continually threadjacks or changes the subject, as well as thinks every member of the forum is talking about them and only them. Trolls often go by multiple names to circumvent getting banned.

    So really, this thread is now closed for good.

  31. According to the Pew Trust report released January 14, Arizona ranks 46th overall in k-12 education. We are 45th in student achievement and 43rd in financing of schools. Is this a time to cut funding for education? And what of the 800,000 people in Arizona without a diploma? Where are the folks who are returning to the workforce during a downturn in our economy to turn

  32. mike says:

    @AZ ED Watch

    I like how people like to throw around a Goldwater report as proof that an independent body agrees that we need reforms. Then you look at the Goldwater report and they tout Florida as a great example of how reforms work. Yet…. they ignore the fact that if you review the ALEC numbers, Florida spends nearly 30% more per student than we do in Arizona. Of course Florida is going to do better!

    The legislature is holding us all hostage. We need to get the increase in place to have a reasonable level of funding in schools. We then need to kick all the elected officials out of office that have been there more than 2 terms and start a real overhaul of spending. Within the state, within the school systems.

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