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Thursday, September 03, 2009

No Correlation Between PA School District Spending and Performance

Tracie Mauriello of the Post-Gazette raises a source of dispute, via Twitter, on education spending vs. performance:

pgPoliTweets: Rendell: Ed achievement is correlated to ed spending. Senate Rs: Not so. Philly has high spending & low scores.
Correlation is pretty easy to test for (though mind you, it doesn't imply causation) using the newly released PSSA results from the Pennsylvania Department of Education for school districts and the latest data on Pennsylvania spending by school district (unfortunately 07-08 data).  For the record, I would have expected a small, but positive correlation; high-spending districts - or so the conventional wisdom dictates - have higher average income families, and higher incomes correlate very strongly with better academic performance.

But the correlation between total per-pupil spending and the percent of students proficient or advanced revealed remarkably little correlation - almost near zero in all age groups.


Anonymous said...

The popular phrase to justify ever higher education funding is "It's for the Children". In reality it's to fund the ever growing appetite for those who make a living off of the education system to receive higher pay and benefits for teachers and administrators and for connected contractors to receive large contracts for ornate new buildings and expensive athletic facilities. Everyone has to have a state of the art auditorium, astro turf athletic fields, indoor jogging tracks, and training facilities that rival private health clubs. The same administrators and school boards that cry they have to raise property taxes because of government mandates are the same people who hand out the raises and bonuses to themselves and teachers, lavish benefits on themselves that they pay far below what a private industry employee pays if he receives the benefit at all and approve the spending of tens of millions of dollars on facilities to entertain the students and their parents. Until people demand that funds be used in an efficient manner for education instead of entertainment and an ever increasing bloated payroll we will get neither highly educated children or relief from tyrannical taxation.

bobguzzardi said...

This is an important point and the evidence is overwhelming.

Nevertheless the "narrative" of the Teachers Unions amplified in MSM liberal media obscures it.

Once again CF demonstrates its indispensable usefulness.