Moving America Forward

How Does Spending Affect the Quality of Education?

August 19, 2014
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How Does Spending Affect the Quality of Education?
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These states put funding first — which results in lower dropout rates and fewer bullying incidents.

You can’t turn on the television without hearing several back-to-school commercials touting the latest and greatest in school supplies. And to kick off the new academic year, WalletHub.com recently released a ranking of the K-12 school systems in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

For the list, the personal financial website considered 12 separate factors including student-teacher ratios, dropout rates, math and reading scores and bullying incident rates.

So which states are tops?

Parents in New England and on the East Coast should be extra keen to wake up at ungodly hours for their kid’s daily carpool. New Jersey, Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire are the top four of the best education systems in the country. Rounding out the top five is Kansas. And at the bottom? Nevada, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and the District of Columbia.

MORE: A Well-Rounded Education: This City is Spending $23 Million to Revive the Arts

The list indicates a strong correlation between highly-ranked states and money spent on education. Education Dive, a news source on all things education, notes that of the top five states, four were also in the top 10 for education spending. The converse — low ranking equals low spending — is mostly true. The glaring exception being bottom-ranked D.C., which spends the most per student in the country.

We previously reported that Massachusetts (ranked second on the Wallethub list) has a stellar education system, thanks to bipartisan support for academics and because the state invests heavily in its schools — especially ones that are low-income.

Putting tax dollars towards schools isn’t just good for students, it’s good for the whole economy. As Wallethub puts it, “States that invest more dollars in education benefit not only their residents but also their economies….Income is higher in states where the workforce is well educated and hence more productive. With higher incomes, workers in turn can contribute more in taxes to beef up state budgets over the long run.”

Wondering where your state ranks? Check out the full report here.

ALSO: Why the U.S. Should Adopt the “Finnish Way” of Education

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