Monday, October 29, 2007

The cost of education has risen a factor of ten over the last 78 years.

Mark Perry has an interesting comparison at his blog Carpe Diem. In And You Thought Oil Prices Were High? Mark has a graph comparing the "expenditures per pupil in public elementary and secondary schools from 1929-2007, adjusted for inflation, and oil prices during the same period, also adjusted for inflation. Both series are price indexes set to equal 100 in 1929."

He has three fascinating conclusions:

Conclusion #1: Oil prices in real dollars have increased 2.4X since 1929 (the inflation-adjusted price index in the graph above goes from 100 to 240).

Conclusion #2: On the other hand, the average cost of educating a student in U.S. public schools today is about 10X the cost in 1929, measured in real dollars (the inflation-adjusted price index in the graph goes from 100 to 1000).

Conclusion #3: Consider also that the quality of a barrel of oil has probably remained the same since 1929, and we probably can't say that about the quality of public school education over the last 78 years. For example, see this 8th grade exam from 1895; how many high school students could pass this today?

There is a lot of noise and fuss when ever the price of gas goes up a bit, but few people seem to be really upset when public schools ask for more money.

It would be fun to have a graph of the expenditures for homeschooling. I would expect the line to be flat, or maybe even fall a bit.

(Hat tip: Friends of Dave)

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education


Alyssa said...

I've been meaning to share this with you for a while. Thought you might enjoy it:

Henry Cate said...

Thanks. That is pretty funny.