By Jamie Gumbrecht, CNN
(CNN) - Public school systems spent an average of $10,615 per student in the 2010 fiscal year, an increase of 1.1% from the previous year, according to Public Education Finances: 2010, a U.S. Census Bureau report released today.
Washington, D.C., schools topped per-pupil spending at $18,667; Utah was lowest, at $6,064. Public schools systems spent $602.6 billion in 2010, a 0.4% decrease since 2009 - the first time the spending level has gone down since the Census Bureau began to keep track.
Although the amount spent per student has steadily crept up in recent decades, it can vary widely based on cost of living and operating. Of the 50 largest school systems, New York City School District spent the most per student in 2010 at $19,597.
Make no mistake: Spending a lot of money doesn't mean a kid is getting a good education, and spending less doesn't mean it's bad. Per-pupil spending comes up often because it's among the few easy-to-compare measurements that crosses school, district and state lines, said Matthew Chingos, a researcher with Brookings Institution's Brown Center on Education Policy.
“Per-pupil funding is a pretty terrible measure of quality of education,” Chingos said. “In some case, it matters, but sometimes it’s hard to find evidence it matters.”
No measure is perfect, Chingos said; parents considering where to live would be better off to gauge how much is going into education, and what the outcomes are - per-pupil spending data, info about how well students do on tests, how they’re improving, how many graduate or go to college, for example.
"You should think about productivity – return on taxpayer investment," Chingos said.
What per-pupil funding can do: Make taxpayers understand how much it costs to educate a child in their area. They'll be able to see if it's similar across districts nearby, Chingos said, and seek better answers about how money is spent.
Here are the places that spend the most and least on each student:
Highest per-pupil spending
Washington, D.C. - $18,667
New York - $18,618
New Jersey - $16,841
Alaska - $15,783
Vermont - $15,274
Wyoming - $15,169
Connecticut - $14,906
Massachusetts - $14,350
Maryland - $13,738
Rhode Island - $13,699
Lowest per-pupil spending
Utah - $6,064
Idaho - $7,106
Arizona - $7,848
Oklahoma - $7,896
Tennessee - $8,065
Mississippi - $8,119
North Carolina - $8,409
Nevada - $8,483
Texas - $8,746
Teacher Tenure needs to be eradicated ... too many bad teachers making $70 per year while districts are forced to lay off teachers who are better who make $40k per year Talk about a waste of money!!
Simple math explains why kids do bad things. "Why to minus Why not." As long as the answer is a positive number, they will do the act. Why not is simply “the probability of getting caught times the consequence.” All we need to do is pass a law that states: as long as there is occurrence of an act more often than what we agree is an acceptable level – the consequence must increase. The problem is not the probability of getting caught, it is the consequence. We have to have the tenacity to increase the consequence until occurrence of the act is infrequent enough that we are satisfied.
Things change only for one of two reasons: by chance or because we make them change. For some unknown reason, as a society, we rely on chance because as a group we cannot agree on how to make them change. Define acceptable levels of occurrence of each undesirable act, define a series of consequences that range from being spoken to eventually to a death penalty, keep track of occurrences and put someone else in charge of retching up the consequence until we are satisfied. This will work for any crime. This will end the argument we have when we have a behavior occurring more than we all agree is acceptable but can’t agree about what in the world to do.
in california, it costs about $45,000 per prisoner per day. just some food for thought.
Cost California $45,000 per day per prisoner? Really? You're an idiot.
i find that hard to believe. what are they having steak and lobster followed by open heart surgery?
Funny, you will cut special education but you will not talk about the real problem with education costs. The cost of sports in our schools!!!!! Cut the sports programs and the costs associated with them and you solve a lot of the financial problems that schools have. Start thinking about what it costs a school to run a program... the coaches, the athletic trainiers, equipment, bussing, police or security. Even in small schools you are talking about millions each year. When was the last time a fight broke out and made nathional news at a spelling bee, science fair, art show or band concert? It is simple, it does not happen!!!!
obviously your children never participated in sports. parents pay!!!!
I think a better statistical measure is the percentage of the money that is spent on administration. The higher the percent, the worse the school district. Not the total dollars, just the percentage. I have seen several articles about particularly bad Texas school districts, and they all have admin-heavy budgets, even though the total dollars may vary. I have an amateur theory that if they spend most of their money on admin, that's where they spend most of their attention as well.
So a certified teacher with a home large enough to house 10 students could gross 100K a year. Sounds like a good business opportunity to me.
well, subtract the house payments and taxes, utility bills, cost of supplies (computers, books, white boards, lunch rooms, etc..), cost of busing the kids to school, cost for a janitor, and whatever else and you'd have a much more reasonable understanding of the costs here. Or just assume 100% goes to the teachers and complain.
I have seen first hand where education costs have skyrocketed. In 1999 School District A builds a high school 1 for 1800 kids total cost 40million. In 2009 School district A builds high school 2 for 1750 kids 130million. The explanation is building costs have skyrocketed. In reality School 1 is constructed of painted concrete block, School 2 is constructed of Concrete block and covered in solid brick. School 1 has drywall and vinyl tile floors, school 2 has Terrazzo flooring, and maple wood doors, trim and sheeting covering half the walls. School 1 has grass fields and modest football stadium, School 2 has 6 artificial turf fields and a 7th football field and stadium on par with one of the state universities. This scenario is playing out all over the country. Superintendents and school boards are building monuments for themselves and squandering tax payer money to ensure cushy positions with the contracting companies after they retire collect their pension and leave the districts in situations where they are laying off teachers to cover budget shortfalls. Stat attending your school board meetings and asking if this is really necessary.
In states with the highest education spending students have above average scores in Math and Science.
States with the lowest spending per student have the lowest Math and Science scores.
The states that spend the most are also the wealthiest and technologically advanced. The ones the spend the least are the most religious, most closed minded and poorest. Education yields wealth and prosperity.
Can i just get a voucher for the taxes i pay for eduication, i want to send my child to a charter or private school, do not want him in the public school mess.
Look at where Texas is on the spending list. Our test scores and student achievement metrics are falling faster each year. Our austerity plan simply robbed money from schools but continued to throw money at any contractor supporting Governor "Oops" Perry. We have become yet another ignorant, bigoted, right-wing "red" state.
8th grade students at or above the advanced level, Math: 17 percent
8th grade students at or above the advanced level, Math: 2 percent
You get what you pay for.
I will be the first to say that the system is broke and has been for some time. I have been teaching for 10 years now and have witnessed a completely inefficient system where money is thrown out and the schools continue to do the same. In low SES schools, teachers are tired, administration stresses only test scores – which begins to encourage cheating and "low level" regurgitation of info. Then one year become another and the system repeats itself. A different look but the same mentality.
Honestly, in low socio-economic public schools, spending does not equate performance at all. One size does not fit all
I am an oldie but goodie when it comes to teaching. The public schools of NYC need to reevaluate the way they handle the students. We are raising ageneration of children who have NO consequences and there fore feel that they are in charge. This especially pertains to the middle schools. We as adults need to be incharge and take it out of the hands of the children. This goes for teacher as well as parents and administrators. During my time as a teacher, The majority of parents I delt with wanted a great education and good classroom management and if that ment disiplining their child with moderate consiquences instead of a reprimand rhen so be it. We are afraid of the kids and they know it. My students 95% of them knew I did not "play". It was the other 5% that were not held accountable.
The invasion, occupation, and rebuilding of Iraq cost us 4 trillion.
Florida currently spends about $22,200.00 per inmate. Governor Scott thinks he can reduce this by about 1/3rd by screwing the Corrections Officers out of jobs, pay, and benefits. Much of this would be accomplished through his Prison Privatization Plan where his buddies could get rich 'feeding' at the state's money trough.
Meanwhile, minimum wage corrections boy scouts will be in charge of keeping the inmates in jail. LUCKY US!
Those employees will be eligible for food stamps and Indigent Care at our local hospitals. LUCKY THEM!
what is not expressed in the number is the high cost of special ed. well all want to day we want to give "special kids" all the resources they need to succeed, but the reality is that most off these kids are not going to substantially contribute to society. however the cost per student is many times up to 10 times to 100 times that of a normal child. what would help fix this situation i make it that no more than the average can me spent on these kids. sorry to sound heartless, but we need to look out for the greater good.
I would have to agree with that, spending 100k a year one one student that will be bagging groceries all his life is not fair to all the other kids and the taxpayers.
I think that's like saying everyone gets the same amount of money for health care – whether they have cancer or a cold. Seems heartless to me. From a purely economic perspective, NOT investing in the education of a special needs child could mean they will be forever dependent on the state, instead of becoming at least mostly self-supporting by bagging groceries. We may pay less for their educations, but more in other safety net programs.
I hope you are blessed with a special needs child or grandchild one of these days and have to go through the demands and struggles to find help and resources for your child. There are resources aplenty for "normal" children in and out of school; you as a parent need to take the time to go out and find them. Don't have time? Stop having kids. My high functioning "gifted" child gets to participate in after school and summer computer programming, robotics and video taping civics/city council meetings for advertisement... free, with food included. My special needs (non-verbal autism by the way) child gets to go to school 2 hrs a day for 4 days. I have to pay out of pocket for anything more.
And by the way, some of these "special needs" children can and do go on to do some amazing things in society. But go ahead and feel free to weed out kids based on first glance without regard to their potential. -Teacher/Parent of a "gifted" child and a "Special Needs" child.
erik, you are so WRONG. My SPED child is in the top 5% in MCAS scores in the state (Massachusetts) in Math and Science. I'm sure my child will substanially contribute to society. The average cost per student isn't 10 to 100 times that of a normal child. You obviously DO NOT have a SPED child and DO NOT know how all this works, SPED children are not disposable. Yes, you are heartless. And with close to 1 in every 88 children being diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, throwing all those children away will not wind up being "for the greater good".
A good comparison would be how much each state spends per state prisoner.
I would like to see some stats one how many people each of those states has in prison and how much they are spending per inmate to warehouse them in those prisons. If you do not educate someone they will become a much bigger burden on society. My county just opened a brand new $100 million dollar jail because the old one is over-crowded. If you don't spend the dollars to educate then you are going to spend them to incarcerate. Many feel that is better, I do not.
There is a small problem with your argument, that being that there is a large portion of people who are educated in one place and move somewhere else, and may get arrested at the new location. There are tons of people who have childhood/young adult fantasies of moving to New York or L.A. and making it as an actor/actress/singer/performer. Just like there are plenty of people who think of going to those same places to break-in and rob the wealth people who may have a home nearby...
Looks like criminals are job creators.
I don't know where CNN is getting their numbers, but Texas is nowhere near $8K per student. Try closer to $2.2K per student on average.
your 2.2 thousand is way to low........check out the numbers on the following website
Its simple, cut al the sports in the schools!!! I played basketball in college and sports spending has gone WAY out of hand!!!!!! Then increase the amount of art and music programs that schools offer. At afraction of what it takes to run just one sports program in a school district you could help a student increase their math and science grades. How may you ask?? It is a proven fact that students that are part of music programs in school have higher math and science scores no matter what their social and economic background is. You will also cut down on the amout of bullying that happens in a school.
I don't know about the bullying part, but the rest of it, you are correct. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that you need to put a personal effort in studying your art, which teaches you a skill which is hard to teach, "how to study". Be it a school musical, play, song, band, dance, in all cases, you need to get into an environment which you can sit down, and learn your part, words, notes, actions, and movements. To some degree this is needed in some sports, but the physical aspects of lifting weights, working out, getting in shape, and conditioning play a much greater role in sports than knowing the art of the sport itself. Really, it is only the coaches which deal with the aspects which would lead to better studying habits, not the players.
OH! LET'S SPEND A LOT OF MONEY ON A BUNCH OF LOSERS . MAYBE IF THEY GET JOBS, THEY CAN DO HALF WORK FOR FULL PAY . OR JUST STAY ON FOOD STAMPS! AND DREAM OF BOUNIE BALL OR JUST WAIT FOR THE CHEESE TO GO ALONG WITH THE WHINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It should be noted that states that spent less on education have higher average SAT scores than those that spend the most. DC for example is far below the national average in education yet the highest cost per student while Utah achieves SAT scores above average. Clearly throwing money at a problem does not help yet the idea of cutting funding to education is almost always off the table.
To be honest though I have no idea where these numbers come from. It could include the cost to pay for the property in which case it is no wonder why the list is the way it is.
So Utah only teaches their students how to take tests, huh? Well, that sure explains a lot.
Just so you know, using test scores to measure quality of education exposes you as someone who does not, in fact, know anything about education. You might want to keep that in mind the next time you jump into an argument.
The College Board (which writes and Administers SATs) has been quite clear that state score comparisons are not meaningful. In midwestern states, most college-bound students take the ACT instead, and those who choose to take the SAT tend to be high-achieving students, including those aiming for the Ivy League. In most other states, only college-bound students tend to take the SATs, but in a few states (especially in the northeast), all or nearly all students will take the test. These are different populations. When only college-bound students take the tests (as is common in the south), we would expect results to be higher. Over the last decade, there has been a very clear pattern: if fewer than 10% of the students in a given state take the test, then the state's average will be among the highest; if more than 50% take the test, the average score will be among the lowest.
On the red state redneck thing you all love to post about......they are doing comparatively well.....maybe a tad better than those northern states of michigan, new york, etc. you should check your mouth at the door.
Cost of living might play a part of overall costs. However, the need to make high schools compare with college facilities drives some of this....weight systems...pools...we have a school that costs 67 million down in the poorest counties of the country. Not saying it isn't nice...just saying 67 million when the teachers can't have copier paper seems stupid. Also, the area boast of 300k population on medicade (including illegals) while the total population of the area is about 1.2 million. Hummm. State run schools or federal run seems to make the system stupid on money. Let's add in what columbine offered – police forces for each campus – mayor tried to shut down the schools in a city of 150k...had to backtrack because he didn't have the authority seems ya have to ask the state officials even in an emergency. Funny times we live in.
yeah, most of the highest per pupil spending states are blue and the lower ones are red. what's the surprise?
most of the states with high cost of living are blue, and lower are red – to surprise there!
I love New York............
As far as homeschooling goes, of course your child performs better because he or she is from a 2 parent home, one in which the household is wealthy enough not to need dual incomes. This immediately disqualifies most inner city students, a population that drags down national averages. As far as the distractions go, those are called life, and your child has to face them sooner or later without mommy and daddy. I have often found that the real motive for homeschooling lies in a selfish tendency of the parent. The parent may highly enjoy all the time with their children, but for many kids, attending school is the best time of their life, and many home schooled kids are being deprived of the opportunity.
Mike M: I try not to call people out on these things; however, I've been force to swallow too many daggers (yes, I am a teacher). Your comment makes sense, but your implication is illogical. Of course the money is spent on teachers, classroom materials, and school maintenance . . . what else are we going to teach the children with? Without paying for the teachers, supplies, and buidlings (and the administrators too) there would be no one and nothing to teach the students except air.
I must admit, I am a teacher. So of course I am going to defend spending. But I am a teacher, so I also see what is going on in the schools. Regardless, logic is logic.
What I think Mike was trying to say was that the vast majority of money isn't being spent on those who teach the kids, nor supplies for the kids, but instead to the bureaucracy that has no interaction with the students.
Yea and half of them never graduate and half that do shouldn't have and only 40% that go onto college finish, talk about throwing money down a rat hole, you want to be scared talk to the youth of today.
What I find interesting is the average cost in my state (MA) being about $14K/student when private schools in my area offering very solid educations are considerably less than that per year for K-12 grades. Rather does make me wonder about the 'value' side of this question.
As stated in the article – spending more/less doesn't necessarily reflect on the quality of the education. These private schools have very good reputations for preparing kids for colleges and (presumably) life after school.
I'd like to know what the average tuition cost in each state is for accredited private K-12 schools is and do a comparison.
"Rather does make me wonder," there is an example of that money down the rat hole I wrote about.
Private and religious schools don't have to educate the most needy kids...the SPED kids, the kids who are seriously low, the difficult kids who don't want to be there. SPED costs are astronomical. Given all that, if you look at tests scores, public schools are always within a point or two of the rest.......even with the fact they have all students, not just he brightest.
Remember the spending is average cost per pupil. Special needs students cost more than the so called 'regular ed.' Private schools don't usually take those students. In addition schools run by churches are subsidized by the collection basket. Many private schools solicit funds from alumni. It is hard to compare costs.
Those private schools likely do not accept the students who are more expensive to educate – those with special needs, ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Intellectual Disabilities, etc. The "average" cost to educate includes these populations. When you look only at the students who could be accepted at those private schools – those without special needs – the cost per student goes way down.
Wow what a lazy article. How about a more in-depth analysis of why these numbers are what they are. Cost of living? Age of the schools requiring more maintenance? Demographics?
Also, Utah has low funding but higher test scores, but that is because of its demographic ( white middle class) that typically performs better on tests.
This is an interesting and meaty topic. but this article was not.
aflarend - It is a meaty topic, and I'm sure we'll do more with it. For today, we had new finance numbers just released by the Census Bureau, and thought people would be interested in a quick rundown and a link to the full 100-plus-page report. There are a lot of school finance stories buried in there, but just off these tidbits of data, I'm curious about Wyoming; it's toward the top, but some of its neighbors are among the lowest-spending. Plenty more questions to ask! What else would you like to see us write about?
So....um....what's the NEWS story?
It would be fair to assume the locations with the highest cost of living will cost the most per student.
Does the per pupil spending include free/reduced lunches and breakfasts. National City School District in Ca is 100% free lunch and breakfast. That kind of cost has to add up.
No. That money comes from a different federal/state fund. The money that they're talking about is spent on materials, pay for staff (teachers, admin, and support staff), maintenance on the buildings, etc.
I'd like to see a correlation plot between per-pupil spending and average SAT scores. My guess is there really isn't much correlation.
Then make one? The data are all available. You can plot it yourself.
No. but SAT scores are very highly correlated with socioeconomic status(SES), as are many educational outcomes. Read the Coleman report from around 1966.
You can homeschool for a WHOLE lot less than that!! And your child can go to college better prepared. I will homeschool 4 children next year for less than the lowest number mentioned.
Home school? Sadly your kids will come out socially inept. They may "learn" the material (although, most home-schooled kids and adults I've met are dumber than rocks), but they will not know how to act in a social setting. Please give your kids a chance and do not homeschool...
That is just the public teacher unions talking....kid's in home schooling are able to concentrate better, learn quicker and have no social handicaps. They are out with their neighborhoods friends once they return from school and on weekends. Home school associations also create sports teams, have debates clubs, etc.
On average they have higher SAT scores.
They don't have to worry about bullies during school, poor teaching or the constant distractions that occur with unruley students in class.
Evidently your supposedly superior schooling failed in one area miserably. If it had succeeded you would be embarrassed to make such a blatantly stupid, incorrect comment.
Tell that to my daughter – a 20 year old college senior who works for a CDC-affiliated research company, has many friends and an active social life, has lived on her own since her freshman year of college (pays for her OWN apartment, too, by the way – doesn't expect her parents to financially support her), aspires to become a pharmacist, and has been in a healthy long-term relationship with a quality guy for over a year now. Let's see...she is successful academically, behaviorally, socially, professionally, and romantically. You're right...she's such a loser!
You'll still pay your taxes to fund the local district so you're not saving yourself any money. In addition you're not paying yourself to teach them, the principal to run the building, the nurse to call you when your kid is sick, the janitor to clean the building for them, etc. Of COURSE you can homeschool for cheaper.
You really can't compare the two, unless you are including a paycheck for yourself or including the opportunity cost of wages you would otherwise have earned if you weren't homeschooling, as well as the costs associated with the school building, utilities, etc. Additionally, the "average" cost is misleading because it includes many costs you probably don't have, especially services needed by children with special needs, such as speech therapy. The cost for educating the "average" child is much lower than the figures presented here, while the cost for chil;dren with special needs is much higher.
And I'm sure your little xenophobes will adjust very well in college. I'm also certain that you are much more qualified to teach than the experts who have spent years teaching hundreds or thousands of kids the content for which they have been certified by the state to teach after many years of training. Sounds like a great idea.
and who is against a voucher system?
Hmmm, closely correlates to an electoral college map. Looks like liberals ARE smarter than conservatives.
If by smarter you mean they don't have a problem spending twice as much, yes they are smarter. The article did cover this fallacy in passing. It would have been nice if they had provided performance comparison data.
Interesting how there is no statistically significant correlation between student performance on testing and state funding per child. What is an interesting correlation is that the states with the highest student spending strongly correlate to those with the most spending deficits. Actually, the data shows the opposite, Mr. Chad. In fact, it shows that they can spend more, while not necessarily receiving larger returns on that outlay. Efficiency is the hallmark of intelligence and throwing large sums of money at an issue while receiving little to no gains is the mark of a distinct lack of intelligence.
Now. let's look at a breakdown of the school budget. The budget expenditures at the local (read district) level are 24.4% of the total budget. So that's how much money is being spent on teachers, schools, and supplies, etc. 75% are being spent on the state and federal levels, meaning administrators, oversight, etc. So, is that very intelligent, I ask? In fact, let's increase the spending by $5000 per student and where does that go? The data suggests that only $1250 of that sum are actually for the student. Read: teacher salary, classroom materials, school maintenance, you get the idea
That actually has already been proven with scientific evidence many times. One study in Canada tracked early childhood intelligence measures and compared scores with voting tendencies as young adults. Those with lower IQs were much more likely to vote for conservative candidates and vice versa.
These numbers are low. It is common for school systems to under report their costs. To get real cost, add up all sources of funding (not just local funding) and divide by the number of students. Do that and the DC schools spend $28,000 per head per year, LA spends $25,000 per head per year. See Adam Schaeffer's paper on this for details.
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