I meant that they've kept asking for increased funding, and sometimes they get it. Even controlling for inflation, public school spending has increased substantially over the past 30 - 40 years, but the results have stayed the same. That's inefficient in my opinion. Furthermore, when you see what schools do with increased funding it's rarely for the students (and usually for administrators and teachers).
I don't think most private schools' cost $14,000 - $16,000 a year. I read that per student public schools have more money than private schools (on average obviously). Don't forget that public schools are funded for with tax money. Why can't parents receive the amount of funding the school would have spent on their child, but take that money to whatever school they want (public or private)?
By the way, I realize that private school students tend to come from better economic conditions, which is a factor in their performance. Obviously any good study/analysis would have to control for this factor. Caroline Hoxby (econ professor at Harvard) has studied charter schools and voucher systems and found that they tend to increase the performance of poor children significantly.
Actually, this is part of a reason that vouchers should be beneficial. Currently, the only people who can afford to send their children to private schools are the people who can pay tuition twice (once in the form of taxes, and once in the form of tution). Vouchers would allow poor people to compete more with the rich on where to send their children.
I haven't read this article yet, but I plan to do so today. I just wanted to ask you one question first. Do you consider the Department of Education to be an agency that has no stake in this debate?