Jeff Spalding

Jeff Spalding previously served as the director of fiscal policy and analysis at the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. He currently serves as Controller for the City of Noblesville in Indiana.

Friday Freakout: Is Federal School Choice Best for Americans?

Federal school choice

House Speaker John Boehner spoke this week about a five-step plan to boost economic growth. Part of that plan includes school choice: “That’s why we created the first federally-funded private school choice initiative in America, the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program. And I’ll tell you what: it is succeeding beyond even our highest expectations. 97 percent […]

Want to Increase Public School Funding? Try School Choice

Increase public school funding through choice

“We need to fully fund our school formula” has become a common refrain in statehouses across the country—including in Mississippi. There is a way policymakers can increase funds for public school students—and it’s as easy as E-S-A. The Great Recession left many states unable to appropriate enough money to fund public schools at the per-student […]

School Choice: It’s Easy as 1, 2, 3, but Not for IDOE

School Choice in Indiana

“I tell yah Dave, I’ve been over this stuff a bunch of times; it just doesn’t add up. Who does these books? I mean if I ran my business this way I’d be out of business.” That line from the movie “Dave” perhaps best sums up my review of the Indiana Department of Education’s (IDOE) […]

Would Shutting Down School Choice Programs Help Public Schools Financially?

shutting down school choice programs would not help public schools

Lyrics from Gladys Knight’s “Midnight Train to Georgia” perhaps best summarize what will happen if the Southern Education Foundation (SEF) succeeds in overturning Georgia’s tax-credit scholarship program to “return” $58 million to public schools: They’ll “(find) out the hard way that dreams don’t always come true.” For those unfamiliar with tax-credit scholarships, the state-authorized school […]

Public Schools Should Rise Above [Which] Mark?

Public School Performance

A new education documentary provides another glaring example of how the lack of consumer choice in K-12 education undermines the efficient allocation of resources to our schools. Unfortunately, the way the film portrays the recent squeeze on public school finances leaves out a lot of important context. Produced by Indiana’s West Lafayette Community School Corporation, […]

If You Think Expanding School Choice Is Expensive . . .

Expanding School Choice

…consider the alternative! President Obama has yet again omitted funding for the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program in his recently proposed 2015 education budget. Although his reasoning is likely more philosophical than financial, his decision makes analyzing the fiscal effects of opposing school choice worthwhile. Data from the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) show that taxpayers are […]

How Would Milton Friedman Attack Income Inequality?

When Dr. Friedman’s views on economic freedom are invoked nowadays, it is often lost that he was very concerned about the plight of the poor and the potentially disruptive nature of problems like widening income inequality. Over the past decade, the matter of growing income disparity between the richest and poorest Americans has been gaining […]

Properly Counting Indiana’s Voucher Students, Step by Step

Indiana's Voucher Students

The Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) reported that 39.3 percent of voucher recipients (7,779 students) were never previously enrolled in public schools in Indiana, implying that these vouchers are an additional fiscal cost to the state because, as many are interpreting it, “those kids would have paid their way to a private school with or without […]

Less Money for Public Schools Makes Them Better

Less money for public schools

Despite the message of those adorable AT&T commercials that “more is better,” there is evidence to the contrary regarding money for public schools. In a little-discussed report, issued by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in September 2007, economist Rajashri Chakrabarti, Ph.D. presented a highly quantitative and rigorous analysis of the effect of school choice […]

Fiscal Undercurrents Pulling Us Toward Universal School Choice?

Fiscal Undercurrents Pull Towards Universal School Choice

Much as the Gulf Stream sets the course for trans-Atlantic cargo ships, there are many unseen socioeconomic trends that push and pull on the movement of society and public policy. In the realm of K–12 education, there are two major fiscal trends that are silently pulling the United States toward a system that would allow […]