This week’s School of Thought column at TIME.com looks at education spending. While it’s impossible to accurately estimate our fiscal recklessness these days it does seem that the best days for ed spending may be behind us. That means – gasp – we’d better think about productivity!
As America starts to grapple with its out-of-control spending habits, we as a nation really should reckon with our education costs. Few federal education programs were targeted by President Obama’s deficit-reduction commission, but that’s because most school funding comes from the state and local levels. And that’s where the big-time money problem is. According to a report issued jointly last week by the National Governors Association and the National Association of State Budget Officers, when federal stimulus funds run out in 2011, states — and, by extension, schools — will tumble off a fiscal cliff, and even an economic upturn won’t bring state funding back up to where it was a few years ago.