Report: Over Last 40 Years Per Pupil Spending Up More than 100 Percent, SAT Scores Flat
Maryland education spending has increased over 100 percent over the last 40 years, while SAT scores have remained flat.
According to spending and test score data compiled in a Cato Institute report, State Education Tends: Academic and Spending over the Past 40 Years, authored by Andrew Coulson, per pupil spending has increased by 110% percent since 1972 while SAT scores have seen little change.
The report’s author, Cato scholar Andrew Coulson, adjusted per-pupil spending for inflation and SAT scores for participation and demographics.
Coulson’s findings show a 0.075 correlation between spending and academic performance among all the states over the last 40 years. “Anything below 0.3 or 0.4 is considered a weak correlation.” Coulson wrote. “The 0.075 figure reported here suggests that there is essentially no link between state education spending (which has exploded) and the performance of students at the end of high school (which has generally stagnated or declined).”
Maryland politicians routinely boast about the state’s series “Number One” rankings from Education Week and the “record investments” i.e., spending in K-12 education.
Lost in the bragging and back slapping is the fact that despite increasing state K-12 spending from $2.9 billion in 2002 to $6.1 billion in 2013, an increase of 110 percent, large, pervasive educational disparities still exist.
Maryland’s public schools will continue to fail our most vulnerable students because they system itself is not aligned to serve their interests. Our schools are designed to serve the interests of the state—political interests—not the needs of parents and students.