Government school officials consistently assert that it is a lack of funding that has prevented schools from being effective. Between 1970 and 1997, however, total revenues for public schools increased from $44.5 billion to $305 billion, yet scores on the SAT have dropped by 27 points at the same time.
Government schooling in the United States has become increasingly expensive to taxpayers. In the 1969-70 school year, every man, woman, and child in the United States contributed $850 (in 1996-97 dollars) to support government schools. By the 1996-97 school year, expenditures grew to $1,181 per citizen, or more than $313 billion per year.
Some put the expenditures on education at a much higher level. According to research by Merill Lynch, a global investment firm, the United States annually spends $740 billion on education, or nearly 10 percent of the nation's gross domestic product. That amount is more than the nation spends on defense and Social Security combined.
 Ibid., Table 160 & 135.
 Michael Moe, Director of Global Growth Research and education analyst at Merill Lynch, presentation at The Pierre Hotel, New York City, "Freedom and Equal Opportunity in Education: A Moral Imperative and a Call to Entrepreneurs", 12 January 2000.