Education Funding And Success

Higher spending on public schools does not always translate to success, according to an article in The District Administration.

            Politicians and education administrators typically place a high emphasis on spending for schools. When schools lag behind and students are not achieving, the quick fix is always more spending.

            In June 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau released education funding per-state and per- student for the 2007-2008 school year. The study discovered that the average spending for an American public student was $10,259.

            The study also found significant gaps between states. New York had the highest overall state funding and per-student funding at $17,173 then New Jersey at $16,491. These statistics greatly exceeded the least-funded Utah at $5,765.

            New York has boasted fairly strong academic achievements through its funding. Its students ranked second in passing AP exams, and 84 percent of its students took the SAT, higher than the national average of 45 percent.

            However, New York’s graduation rate lingers from 48-56 percent, depending on the district.

            Administrators from New York argue that the state’s cost per living is significantly higher than all other states, and it has to accommodate for more students. Also, the poverty rate is much higher in New York than other states. If New York continues to post strong academic marks, then it will receive more funding.

            Utah, despite low funding, has achieved exceptional academic marks with a high school graduation rate of 85-92 percent. Utah administrators attribute their economical success to their teachers, which receive 73 percent of all funding, compared to the national average of 63 percent. Teachers starting in Utah earn $32,000 a year, on average, compared to certain districts in New York’s $57,000.

             Utah also has the highest class sizes in the nation.

            Spending can help some states and districts achieve and sustain academic success. However, other states have made similar achievements with significantly less funding. All administrators are looking to get the most value of the funding they receive.

Funding per-state chart.

Per-pupil spending and graduation rates.