I was a bit shocked when I first heard (from this Cato post) about how much DC students cost taxpayers on a per pupil basis. According to Table 11 of the Public Education Finances: 2010 Report from the Census Bureau, in 2009-10, DC students cost taxpayers a whopping $27,263 per pupil! This from an education system which is ranked near or at the bottom in terms of test scores. Just to put things into perspective, the next highest spending level is in NY state at just over $20,000, a whopping 25% lower. My town, which ranks near the top of all schools in New Jersey spends only $14,100 per pupil, almost half the level for DC students. You really have to go to the level of uber-elite private schools to surpass what is spent on DC students. Tuition at Philips Academy is $32,850, while higher, is closer to what DC spends than DC spending is to all other states in the country. Are DC students getting a Philips Academy education? Obviously not. They're practically not even getting a Libya-quality education. Okay, maybe its unfair to compare the two systems as private school faculty tend to be non-union and the school doesn't have to operate under state or union rules. If Philips were public, spending per pupil would probably be twice as much as it is as a private institution. Then how do you explain my town's public school system, with unions and all, achieving so much more with just half the money? The amount of waste and corruption at the DC school system must be absolutely mindboggling.