I'm probably asking to get flamed on this one, but...
There was an interesting post over at the Scratching Post the other day that had a plot showing the expenditure rates of schools and the reading rates over the last couple of decades. The reading scores are flat, while the costs (inflation adjusted costs) are growing seemingly exponentially (since about 1995).
What I started to wonder about was, if the money isn't improving instruction/learning. then where is it going? Now, I don't know the answer, but I starting poking around and found one thing that does seem to correlate with the break point in the expenditure curve.
It's a series of court decisions concerning how schools must handle kids with disabilities (see this). Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not sure this is the cause. I also don't want to suggest that disabled kids shouldn't get the best education we can give them. But if this is the reason, then I have to wonder if we are doing the right thing.
We all know there are only so many dollars available. We must have an educated next generation. We must spend the available dollars in a manner that maximimally ensures that our children are educated such that they are able to compete effectively in an ever more competitive and ever more information intensive future. If we are spending this much money on a non-productive process, then we need to stop it.
That said, does anyone out there really know what has cause the rise in the cost of education?