The American Legislative Exchange Council, a national organization for state legislators, ranked Kansas 22nd in their survey for spending less money per student than the national average.
According to the organization, which used information from the 2003-2004 school year, the average amount spent on each student is $9,000. Kansas spent $1,000 less than that but still performs well on the National Assessment of Educational Progress test, considered the nations report card and college entrance exams, ACT and SAT.
So far the argument holds water. On the national test, Kansas fourth graders ranked second in the nation for math and 13th in reading. Eighth graders second for math and eighth in reading. The scores for ACT and SAT have also increased.
But The Hall Monitor couldn’t help but point out that there is more to the argument than academic progress and money.
Education gurus say that students who are economically disadvantaged need more academic attention than other students and that it’s tougher to teach those students. As are students whose first language isn’t English and those with disabilities. Therefore you need more money to teach them.
But compared to other states, Kansas’ number of students who are economically disadvantaged, 38.5 percent students, is tiny. Other states like California and Texas, where a majority of the non-Kansas students are coming from have a higher percentage. It’s 47.9 percent in California and 46.7 percent in Texas.
The states that are in the organization’s top ten, most of them Midwest states, also have a small percentage of students who are economically disadvantaged. Massachusetts, ranked number one, has 28.3 percent economically disadvantage.Minnesota ranked number two has 27.2 percent and New Hampshire, number three, has 16.3 percent.
California is ranked 42 and Texas 36.