Ben Scafidi is a professor of economics and director of the Education Economics Center at Kennesaw State University. He is also a Friedman fellow with EdChoice and a senior fellow with the Georgia Public Policy Foundation. His research has focused on education and urban policy.
Previously, he served as chair of the state of Georgia’s Charter Schools Commission, a member of Georgia’s Charter Advisory Committee, the education policy advisor to Gov. Sonny Perdue, on the staff of both of Gov. Roy Barnes’ Education Reform Study Commissions, an expert witness for the state of Georgia in school funding litigation, and as director of education policy for Georgia GOAL. He received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Virginia and his B.A. in economics from the University of Notre Dame.
Industry Expertise (2)
Areas of Expertise (4)
Students’ Choice Award, J. Whitney Bunting College of Business (professional)
Awarded by Georgia College & State University
University of Virginia: Ph.D., Economics
University of Notre Dame: B.A., Economics
Media Appearances (6)
Make the Right Choice - Part III
As part of our continuing series on school choice, Indy Politics talks with Georgia Economics Professor Dr. Ben Scafidi of Kennesaw State University who maintains that school choice and vouchers can actually save taxpayers money when it comes to education.
More Money, Same Problems
U.S. News & World Report print
Public education is important to the economic and social well-being of our nation, which is why it is the No. 1 line item in 41 state budgets. Today, more than 50 million students attend America's public schools. Some students are succeeding: They graduate from high school, matriculate into college or join the workforce and military. Others are not doing so well: They drop out of school; graduate but are functionally illiterate; or are in the ranks of the unemployed.
Are D.C. Public Schools Spending Too Much on Non-Teaching Staff?
"While teacher salaries still account for the biggest slice of the budget pie, the Heritage Foundation’s Lindsey Burke and Kennesaw State University professor Benjamin Scafidi suggest that hiring of non-teaching staff has spiked while teacher hiring has declined over a 20-year period..."
Behind the Rise of Public School Costs: The Growing Number of Non-Teachers
The Daily Signal
How many non-teachers does a school district need?
Since 1950, public schools all across America have added staff at a rapid rate—much faster than their increases in students.
Sure, there have been some increases in lead teachers that resulted in large declines in class sizes. However, there were even greater increases in the hiring of administrators and all other staff over these six-plus decades...
Nonteacher positions proliferate at Oklahoma public schools
“Taxpayers have devoted significantly more funding per public school student over many decades. These spending increases were heavily weighted toward adding personnel,” said Benjamin Scafidi, an economics professor and fellow at the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice...
Demography and Schools
Education scholars talked about demographic changes in K-12 public schools since the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court ruling. They spoke about how to improve the quality of education by creating schools with more socioeconomic and racial diversity.
Recent Papers (4)
Georgia’s 2012 Charter Schools Amendment was the first successful statewide school choice referendum in the United States. This amendment permitted the state to authorize new charter schools, thereby creating a way for charter creators to bypass local school boards. This study analyzes voting on this state constitutional amendment and finds that support was higher among counties with lower achieving public schools, more school-aged children, more adults having college degrees, more private school enrollment, more homeowners, and lower public school employment.
Over the past decade, Richard Vedder has become widely known in academic, policy, and media circles for his work on productivity in higher education. In fact, however, Vedder (1996, 2000; Vedder and Hall 2000) studied issues in K-12 education before turning to higher education with his 2004 publication, "Going Broke by Degree: Why College Costs So Much." This article highlights Vedder's contribution to debate on productivity in American public K-12 education and updates his findings with more recent data.
This paper provides an analysis of who takes Advanced Placement (AP) Economics. We find large differences in enrollment in AP Economics across groups.
We apply an empirical approach designed to control for selection issues to estimate the effect of taking Advanced Placement (AP) Economics in high school on student performance on a high-stakes, statewide End-of-Course Test (EOCT).