A new report from the Center for American Progress (CAP) is going to catch some attention around the country. As the CAP writes in the introduction:
“At a time when states are projecting more than $100 billion in budget shortfalls, educators need to be able to show that education dollars produce significant outcomes or taxpayers might begin to see schools as a weak investment. If schools don’t deliver maximum results for the dollar, public trust in education could erode and taxpayers may fund schools less generously.”
The CAP wades into that discussion, which we started in Kentucky years ago with our “Bang for the Buck” report, with new rankings of the efficiency of school districts around the nation in terms of test proficiency rates achieved versus per pupil dollars spent.
While the CAP findings are no surprise to us, they reinforce what we at the Bluegrass Institute have been saying for years: with education now absorbing such a huge percentage of the overall tax dollar, Kentucky simply cannot afford education systems that don’t produce efficiently for kids.
I’ll have a lot more to say about the CAP report, so stay tuned.
In the mean time, the CAP’s web site has a neat mapping tool where you can drag the map to show Kentucky, click within the area of the state, and then see how each district in the state shapes up in their efficiency rankings.
Here is one map I assembled that shows the worst Return on Investment (ROI) school districts – shown in red, to the best – shown in dark green, in Kentucky.