The Wawascene was created by Dr. Mark Stock, former Superintendent of the Wawasee Community School Corporation. Due to its local popularity, Dr. Stock has left the blog site to future Wawasee administrators.

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Monday, June 12, 2006

How Does Indiana Rank?

According to an Indianapolis Star article printed last Saturday, Indiana ranks 32nd in the nation in the amount of school revenue that goes toward classroom teaching. You can read the article here. That information was taken from a report done by an independent research group called Federal Funds Information for States (FFIS). The article also provides a link to the full report. The report shows a number of state rankings and comparisons that relate primarily to various levels and sources of school funding across the nation. The specific ranking that is spotlighted in the Star ranks all fifty states in the amount of K-12 spending devoted to instruction in 2003-2004.

I would encourage reading the full report, and I would offer a few observations:

1. As the Star article indicates, it is difficult to compare statistics across states since it is almost impossible to know if everyone is defining terms in the same way.

2. The recently enacted HB 1006 provides for the State Board of Education to define terms for Indiana in four (4) areas: 1)Student Academic Achievement, 2) Student Instructional Support, 3) Overhead and Operations, and 4) Non-operations. Of course, this doesn't mean that the definitions determined by Indiana's board will be the same as any other state.

3. The same report that ranks Indiana 32nd in the amount of revenue dedicated to K-12 spending also ranks Indiana 13th in the nation in terms of the outcomes on the Armed Services Qualification Test for 2003 (the most recent available). According to the Congressional Quarterly's State Fact Finder 2006, "The results provide the best single measure of performance of high school graduates being tested by an employer using criteria approximating aptitude for work."

4. The FFIS report concludes with the following: "For some states-such as Iowa, Minnesota, New Jersey and New Mexico-the rankings (between the amount devoted to K-12 instruction and the outcomes on the Armed Services Qualification Test) are similar. But for others-such as Alaska, Georgia, Oregon and New York-they are disparate. This suggests there there is more at work than just the share of total spending devoted to instruction, notwithstanding the appeal of a simple solution to a complex problem."

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