Spending the most money on education as a percentage of all spending does not guarantee better graduation rates or ACT (college entrance testing) scores, according to a new analysis by State Budget Solutions of spending and performance for 2009-2011. The national average state spending on schools as a percentage of all spending was 30 percent in 2009, 29 percent in 2010 and 29.3 percent in 2011, the Virginia-based nonprofit group said.
New York and Massachusetts were in the bottom five in 2010 and 2011, well below the national average. Education spending in New York was 23.8 percent of all spending in 2010 and 23.6 percent in 2011. Alaska spent the least amount as a percentage of total spending all three years, the report said. Hawaii and Tennessee were also at the bottom of the list.
At the other end of the spectrum, Texas, Vermont and Arkansas all spent at least 4 percent more than the national average. Michigan was in the top five in 2010 and 2011, and Virginia was No. 4 in 2009 and No. 5 in 2011, State Budget Solutions found. The spending levels include state, federal and local education funds.
New York is in the top three when it comes to total spending on education. New York spending $72.8 billion in 2012, compared to the national average of $17.7 billion, the study said.
“In 2010, total annual spending on education exceeded $809 billion dollars. That is amount is higher than any other industrialized nation, and more than the spending of France, Germany, Japan, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia combined,” Bob Williams, president of State Budget Solutions, said in a statement. “However, our study clearly shows that spending money isn’t going to achieve the results that taxpayers are funding and parents are wanting.”
Massachusetts, which spent less than 45 other states all three years, had the highest average ACT scores. Four of the five states that spent the most did not have correspondingly high graduation rates or ACT scores, but Vermont was the exception, the analysis said. New York was below the national graduation rate average all three years, although students consistently scored above the national average ACT score.
“Many states resort to throwing money at education in a poor attempt to improve test scores and graduation rates,” Williams said. “Instead, educators and elected officials need to look at what is working in various states with high ACT scores and graduation rates. What they will see is that states taking a more active role in educational outcomes produce better performance results.”
SBS Education Report