From Jonathan Cohn:
Please indulge me while I share some local news: Rick Snyder, newly elected governor in my home state of Michigan, announced this week that he will call for massive cuts in state spending on education.* (*Note: My [Cohn's] wife is a professor at a public university that would lose some funding under Snyder’s plan. I doubt she'll feel much impact from these cuts. But, as you can guess from this item, I think my kids will.) Very roughly, it will result in a reduction of about $470 per student.
I know enough about public education, and public education bureaucracies, to believe that school districts could find ways to reduce spending without hurting the quality of education. And, yes, it would probably mean teachers and staff making more concessions on salaries or, more likely, benefits.
But could they find $470 per student that way? I don't think so. On the contrary, I expect that schools--including the ones that my sons attend--would end up with fewer teachers, fewer courses, and fewer extracurricular offerings if the legislature approves Snyder's plan. And my kids would be among the lucky ones. It would be much worse in places like Detroit, where an ongoing funding crisis is about to swell some classes to 60 students. (No, that’s not a misprint.)