Counting the Cash for K-12

DeHavilland Blog:

Excellent report here on education spending titled “Counting the Cash for K-12: The Facts About Per-Pupil Spending in Colorado [pdf],” published by the Independence Institute. While the report is focused on education spending in Colorado, they use national data in several instances for comparative purposes, and the information they provide is relevant to people across the country with an interest in K12 spending.
Their primary conclusion is that we should look less at how much we spend per student and more at how we’re spending, since school budgets and per-pupil spending do not correlate with achievement. What’s more, people can manipulate or reframe spending figures to make them look better or worse depending on their purposes – a trick that can confuse the entire discussion.

One thought on “Counting the Cash for K-12”

  1. The American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative group, comes out with an annual propaganda piece on this. Clearly, if you lump all sorts of data together, you’re bound statistically to come up with their result: more money per student has no impact on achievement.
    One year I used a subset of their data (for public schools in the Midwest states only), and found that the states spending the most money per student had better achievement (statistically significant). This ran counter their findings for the national data. I suspect comparing Midwest states is a more apples to apples comparison.

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