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.[40]

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.[41]  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.[42]

[40]       Ibid., Table 160 & 135. 

[41]       Ibid., Table 39.

[42]      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.