March 7, 2006
Study finds New York's above-average education spending yields average results
Despite spending 48 percent more than the per-pupil national average, New York ranks 24th in academic achievement among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, a new analysis of education by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) shows.
"Again this year, [ALEC's] Report Card on American Education finds no evident correlation between increasing conventional measures of educational inputs—such as dramatic increases in education spending or keeping pupil-teacher ratios at a very low level—and improving student achievement—such as average scores on standardized tests," Georgia State Representative and 2005 ALEC Chairman Earl Ehrhart wrote in the report's introduction.
"Lawmakers cannot spend our way to better grades by simply expending more public funds on education without demanding academic achievement in return."
New York, with the nation's highest per-pupil spending and a below average student-to-teacher ratio, experienced little improvement in reading proficiency over the past three years, the report said.
The state's math and SAT scores improved 3.4 and 3.5 percent respectively over the same time period.
The report found that the state's average per-pupil spending was $13,561 in 2003, 48 percent more than the national average of $9,136.
The report card compares average SAT, ACT and National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scores in each state to that state's average per-pupil spending, teacher-to-student ratio and other financial measures.
The report card found that while per-pupil expenditures have increased by 78 percent over the last two decades, student performance has increased only slightly during the same time. "Seventy-three percent of American eighth graders are still performing below proficiency in math, according to the 2003 National Assessment of Education Progress test," the report said.
The study also found that:
- Seventy percent of eighth graders in public school performed
below proficiency level on the 2003 NAEP reading exam.
- Of the 10 states that increased per-pupil spending the most
over the past decade, only New Hampshire and Vermont ranked in
the top 10 in academic achievement.
- Of the 10 states that decreased student-to-teacher ratios over the past decade, only Vermont ranked in the top 10 in terms of performance.
The full report is available in PDF format at www.alec.org/meSWFiles/pdf/Report_Card_on_American_Education.pdf.