In a study conducted by the Director of the Cato Institute's Center for Educational Freedom, Andrew Coulson, state SAT score averages were examined and then adjusted by participation rate and student demographics (i.e., the factors known to affect achievement outcomes). Coulson then compared the results with recent state-level National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scores, producing SAT score trends from 1972 to present day.
- In all 50 states, the correlation between spending and academic performance was 0.075. Any corrleation below 0.3 or 0.4 is considered a very weak, indicating no relationship between education spending and student achievement at the end of high school.
- Furthermore, while spending has increased, performance has stagnated or declined. And, states that have cut spending substantially over certain periods have demonstrated no declines in SAT scores.
In sum: Academic performance and test scores across the 50 states appear to have zero relationship to the amount of state education funding.
Something else hasn't changed since 1970: The "true believers"--the teachers' unions and state education establishments--continue to argue that pouring more money into K-12 education will improve learning outcomes. The true believers, of course, blame the tests.
How about blaming parents and taxpayers for putting up with this for 40 years? All of that money and they should be content with these achievement outcomes?
Let the discussion begin...
To read Andrew Coulson's study, click on the following link:
"State Education Trends."