More Money =/= Better Education
Maybe I’m beating a dead horse, but I feel like I need to keep whacking people over the head with this concept until they get it.
Like today, there was an article in one of my local online papers. The story was that Arizona apparently is the 2nd to last state on the list when it comes to education funding.
We only spend $7,666 per student, as opposed to Washington D.C. (the 2nd highest in per education spending) which spends $18,475 per student.
The article wasn’t intended to be negative, in fact I think that the Arizona Capitol Times is one of the few truly fair and non-biased papers we have in Arizona, so I don’t take offense at the coverage. I do however take offense at the lack of depth to the reporting, which was likely in deference to appearing non-biased.
In the report they offered a list of the states which spend the least per student and the states which spend the most and that was that. They did no extra delving into those numbers.
So I crunched the numbers for them.
No need to thank me.
So you are looking at these numbers and thinking “Well, maybe the idea that higher education spending is better is right? I mean, Idaho? Oklahoma? Mississippi? Nothing there but rednecks and hillbillies right?”
Thanks to being what the “elite” like to call “flyover country” these states have gotten a generally bad rap. People from the south and mid-south are just dirty hicks who run around barefoot and say things like “y’all” and “fixin’to” instead of speaking like an “educated” person.
While I will admit to saying y’all on occasion, I deny the barefoot part. There are some nasty, stickery plants that grow in the grass in the mid-south (plus fire ants and scorpions) so bare feet are generally discouraged.
Anyway, back to the main point.
These states get a bad rap, but when you look at their SAT scores and graduation rates, they are on par (or doing significantly better than) the top 5 spending states.
Let’s look at graduation rates first. I average the rates for each set of states. The top 5 states had a combined average graduation rate of 74%.
The bottom 5 states had a combined average of 76.8% graduation.
Wait a minute, their average is 2.8% higher than the big spenders. That’s weird.
Of course you could blame that on Alaska and the District of Columbia ruining it for everyone else, their graduation rates are absolutely abysmal. 68% in Alaska and 59% in DC. New York (77%), New Jersey(83%) and Vermont(87%) have rates that are not far from the other 5 states rates. Utah (76%), Idaho (84%), Oklahoma (70.7%), Arizona (78%) and Mississippi (75%).
Funny, you would think that with more than twice the spending per student those top tier states would have a better graduation rate.
Oh well, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink right? Surely the students who graduate and go on to college are doing better than the students who are college bound in the low tier states.
Let’s look at their SAT scores.
Here’s where things get really interesting.
Because the low tier states have a combined average SAT score of 1633.8
The high tier states only have a combined average SAT score of 1481.4
A 152.4 difference in favor of states which spend significantly less money.
In fact, not a single state in the high tier scored a better average than the low tier states.
Utah – 1674 New York – 1461
Idaho – 1601 District of Columbia – 1382
Oklahoma – 1684 Alaska – 1524
Arizona – 1544 New Jersey – 1506
Mississippi – 1666 Vermont – 1537
In fact, the two lowest scores, New York and DC, are the two biggest education spenders per student.
Between the lowest and highest spenders there is almost no difference in graduation rate (76% and 77%) and the lowest spender has an average SAT score that is 213 points higher (which is not an insignificant difference).
So keep telling me how I “hate education” and “want students to suffer” because I don’t want, yet another, spending increase for education.
The numbers don’t back you up. Money is not the answer.