Wednesday, March 1, 2017

How does California rank in per-pupil spending? It all depends | EdSource

How does California rank in per-pupil spending? It all depends | EdSource:

How does California rank in per-pupil spending? It all depends

 Californians struggle to determine what constitutes a sufficient level of education funding, one yardstick is what California spends compared with other states. So here’s a question: How does California rank in K-12 per-pupil spending nationally in the latest studies? a) 46th; b) 41st; c) 29th; d) 22nd.
The answer is all of them. Depending on how spending is calculated and how up-to-date the data are, the per-student amount differs by thousands of dollars, and the state’s ranking varies widely.
This FAQ explains the most frequently cited methodologies, their differences and the reasoning behind them. While useful, state spending comparisons won’t provide Californians the answer only they can answer: What would constitute adequate funding in the state with the world’s sixth-largest economy, and with the largest number of children living in poverty and highest percentage of English learners in the nation?
Which organizations are the primary sources of information on per-student spending data?
  • Education Week, which each January updates Quality Counts, a comparison of state education systems. States’ per-student spending is one component.
  • The National Education Association, which releases its annual survey of state spending each May .
  • The California Budget and Policy Center, a Sacramento-based nonprofit, which periodically has done its own annual analysis to determine California’s per-student ranking. Its most recent report was published in January 2017.
What are the big differences in their methodologies?
EdWeek uses data collected by the federal government, the National Center for Education Statistics. The center publishes 2-year-old data because it waits for states to update their actual spending, and the center takes months scrubbing the information to make sure the state data are comparable. EdWeek then applies a cost-of-living factor, the Comparable Wage Index, which has the effect of lowering the rankings of states with high costs of living. Developed for the federal government by a professor at Texas A&M University, the index incorporates regional variations in the salaries of college graduates.

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