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Back to May Ed Reporter

Education Reporter
NUMBER 160 THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS MAY 1999

Group Finds Increased Spending
and Pupil Performance Unrelated

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WASHINGTON, DC - The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the nation's largest bipartisan membership association of state legislators, issued its fifth Report Card on American Education: A State-by-State Analysis on Jan. 26. The study includes data from 1976 through 1998, and grades each state based on over 100 measures of educational resources and achievement.

Data from the most recent school year studied (1996-97) show no statistically evident correlation between educational performance and per-pupil expenditures or teacher salaries. While spending for education increased 51% between 1976-1998, academic performance declined or stagnated. ALEC uses as an example the fact that SAT scores rose only 1.6% during this period, and points to the "tremendous" growth of charter schools, with their typically higher-than-average scores, to indicate that "improving student achievement is not based on dollars spent, schools constructed, or even the number of teachers hired."

The study's data do show a correlation between:

Educational performance and the number of students per school, with smaller schools performing better;

Higher performance and a lower percentage of a state's total budget received from the federal government;

Higher performance and higher pupil-per-teacher ratios.


 
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