The Center for American Progress recently released a report on the educational “return on investment” for schools nationwide. From a Times Union article on the study:
“In a report released Wednesday, the Washington, D.C.-based Center for American Progress looked at the “Return on Educational Investment,” or spending among individual school districts nationwide. Researchers also included federal monies, which don’t always show up on school budgets.
The report’s authors weighted poverty levels as measured by the percentage of students receiving free and reduced-price lunch, as well as other factors that could impact both the cost of running a school and the level of educational attainment.
Also considered are factors like the cost of living in a given area and number of youngsters who are just learning English.
Researchers then looked at per-pupil spending and compared it to standardized test scores, focusing on the number of students who passed, or met the desired standards. While noting that there are wide differences between individual schools, the study looks at districts as a whole and compares them within their state.”
Here is a summary of the study’s findings:
- Low educational productivity remains a deeply pressing problem, with billions of dollars lost in low-capacity districts.
- Some of the nation’s most affluent school systems show a worrying lack of productivity.
- In some districts, spending priorities are clearly misplaced.
- State approaches to improving fiscal effectiveness vary widely.
- States have failed to make fiscal equity a priority and large funding gaps exist across school districts.
- State budget practices are often inconsistent and opaque.
To read more about the results and to see how your district stacks up, you can view the study here. A disclaimer from the organization’s website warns readers: “Please interpret our individual district productivity evaluations with a heavy dose of caution. The connection between spending and educational achievement is complex, and our data does not capture everything that goes into creating an effective school system.”