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Opinion
Christopher Flavelle

New Strategy for Student Achievement: Spend Less

U.S. spending on primary and secondary education fell in 2012, for the first time in almost four decades. Welcome to the new experiment.
How can we make her job easier? Photographer: George Frey/Bloomberg
How can we make her job easier? Photographer: George Frey/Bloomberg

After spending more money on primary and secondary schools every year for almost four decades and not getting much to show for it, the U.S. is trying the logical alternative: spending less. Whether you think that's a good idea depends on how you value the competing roles of government -- and your appetite for risk.

The U.S. Census Bureau reported last week that spending on public elementary and secondary schools declined by $5 billion in 2012, the first time since 1977 expenditures have fallen. In almost half of states, spending per pupil fell.