Based on a variety of indicators, ALEC’s Report Card on American Education has found no direct correlation between conventional measures of education inputs, such as expenditures per pupil and teacher salaries, and educational outputs, such as average scores on standardized tests. For instance, class sizes in Tennessee today are 21 percent smaller than they were 20 years ago, yet of the 10 states that experienced the greatest decreases, only one (Vermont) is found among the highest performing states in the rankings.
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) recently released its 14th edition of the Report Card on American Education: A State-by-State Analysis, which covers the school years 1985-1986 thru 2006-2007. This comprehensive guide ranks the educational performance of the school systems in the states and the District of Columbia, with Minnesota placing first and the District of Columbia last.
“Raising student achievement levels and improving our schools must involve new and innovative solutions, and examining the data in this publication is a step in the right direction,” said ALEC Education Task Force Chairman Senator Nancy Spence of Colorado. “We need to hold our schools accountable, demand results, and provide parents with more choices when it comes to their children’s education.”
Even with dramatic increases in the amount of educational resources spent on primary and secondary education over the past two decades—expenditures have risen in Tennessee to an all-time high of $7,267 per pupil—student performance has improved only slightly; 77 percent of eighth-graders are still performing below proficiency in math and 74 percent in reading, according to the 2007 National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP).
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