While a program like Student Sponsor Partners requires significant financial backing, O'Malley said the program actually spends less per student than public schools do. "Our schools spend about half of what is spent per pupil in New York City public high schools, [and] with dramatically better results," O'Malley said. "The problem is not the amount of money being spent. Spending in New York City has increased several billion over the last five years alone; the problem is how the money is spent."
I grew up in India, where the spending per student, even on purchasing power parity terms, was minimal. While there are avenues where I wished I had better exposure, none of those really involved significant monetary costs to the school. But that cheap education still gave me what I believe is a tremendous academic platform to launch myself. Every kid should have that platform!
Afterthought This is not simply about public vs private schools. I do want, for example, a student in a failing public school to be able to transfer to a successful public school without his parents being able to afford a house in that district! In the end, if properly implemented, choice should improve quality and bring down education costs (which are at present unsustainable). So the next time you hear a politician promise to increase funding for education, boo him and ask him what he'll do to improve the quality rather than quantity.