Education uses up a lot of government money. The federal government spent at least $107 billion on education in 2012, and state and local governments far more than that – in 2010 they paid $859.9 billion on education. While this only represents 3% of the federal government’s expenditures, state and local governments spend more than a quarter of their budget on education. This level of spending is actually much more than it should be – we have the highest per-pupil spending level in the world, and a mediocre educational system to show for it. Despite this, cuts to education spending, as we saw in the aftermath of the Great Recession, result in significant decreases in educational performance, making the situation even worse. Thus, governments are trapped in a catch-22: they can’t cut spending on education, because that will only make things worse, but they can’t really afford any significant increases in education spending, because they’re already paying a huge amount for what they’re getting.
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