Sunday, June 2, 2013

Education spending tied to success

Oregon spent below the national average in 2011
The states that spend the most on public education get the best results, according to the website 24/7 Wall St. after it looked at Census data from 2011.

Obviously, Oregon does not spend the most, far from it. The Beaver State ranked 27th at $9,682 spent per student. The national average was $10,560 in 2011.

New York led the pack at a whopping $19,076 per student in 2011. Utah spent the least per student at $6,212.

Idaho, showing that it's no liberal Northwest state, came in next to last per pupil spending at $6,824.

From the 24/7 Wall St. story:

"Generally, the states that spend the most on education get the best results. A majority of the top spending states are in the top 15 in fourth- and eighth-grade math and reading proficiency exams. Among the 10 states that spend the least per pupil, only Colorado was in the top 10 in any of these proficiency tests."

Surprisingly, Wyoming ranks No. 5 in per student spending but, along with No.2 Alaska, gets the least from its money out of the top 10 states.

"Last July, Harvard researcher Paul Peterson told the Casper Star-Tribune that spending per student has grown more in Wyoming than in nearly any other state, yet test results have remained stagnant," according to 24/7 Wall St.

Wyoming, though, is the least populated state in the nation at 576,412 as of 2012. 

Large, sparsely populated states, like Alaska and Wyoming, take a lot of money to educate their students in remote, isolated places.

Oregon's coastal neighbors, Washington and California, placed 29th and 35th, respectively.

Still, the data show that spending more per student provides more for a state's well-being.

From 24/7 Wall St.:

"Wealth and spending has a significant impact on educational outcomes, according to Michael Leachman, director of state fiscal research at the Center on Budget Policy and Priorities. 'If you have more money, you can invest more in your schools,' he said in an interview with 24/7 Wall St. 'If you invest more in your schools, you're going to end up with a better-educated and ultimately higher-income population.'"

Those words are worth noting by Oregon's Legislature, which is poised to give a good boost to public education in the next biennium, thanks to Democratic leadership. It's money worth spending.

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