Monday, December 22, 2008

Per-Pupil Spending In California

In a press release about an initiative to increase the state sales tax, the CTA tells us that California ranks 46th in the nation in per-pupil spending. The Education Intelligence Agency tells us that that's not entirely accurate:

I'm sure there is some tortured table somewhere that places California 46th in the nation in some measure of per-pupil spending. It probably requires applying L.A. or San Jose prices to Redding and Needles. But as luck would have it, we just received a comprehensive report on per-pupil spending from a source I'm sure CTA has heard of - the National Education Association.

NEA's annual Rankings and Estimates report happens to rank states by per-pupil spending, and on page 55 (73 in the PDF file) Table H-11 shows California ranked 26th in per-pupil spending, not 46th. Close enough for government work, as they say.

Is CTA incompetent or dishonest? Or perhaps the NEA is wrong?


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Anonymous said...

A little research would find why the numbers are different. CTA accounts for the cost of living, NEA does not.

Makes sense to accunt for the cost of living, as the same amount of money does not buy the same number of teachers in all places. Teachers, on average, cost more in California because, on average, it costs more to live in California.


vanyali said...

Teachers cost more in California because California pays more. It's likely that California pays more than it needs to pay to attract the number of teachers it actually needs. Just because some government entity sets a price doesn't mean that it is a price that bears much relation to the market.