Teaching, Not Treasure

Jim Weigand writes to say that Table 15 is up for the 2016 school year.

That table provides, inter alia, the divisions’ expenditures for operations per student.

The footnotes to the Table tell us:

Operations include regular day school, school food services, summer school, adult education, and other education, but do not include pre-kindergarten, non-regular day school programs, non-local education agency (LEA) programs, debt service, or capital outlay additions. Non-LEA programs include expenditures made by a school division for state-operated education programs (in hospitals, clinics, and detention homes) that are located within the school division and reimbursed with state funds.

State revenues for regional Alternative Education programs and Academic Governor’s Schools are allocated to divisions according to participation, rather than as paid to the fiscal agents for these programs.

The Average Daily Membership (ADM) calculated at the end of the school year includes the ADM of pupils served in the school division and the ADM of resident pupils for whom tuition is paid to another school division, regional special education program, or private school. It excludes Head Start, pre-kindergarten, junior kindergarten students, and students for whom the division receives tuition payments from another division or entity (i.e., out-of-state school division, Comprehensive Services Act, Interstate Compact Agreement).

At the same time, the helpful front end to the SOL database gives us the division average pass rates.

Uniting these two datasets gives a Bang per Buck picture. 

Let’s start with the reading data.

image

Richmond is the gold square.  The red diamonds are, from the left, the peer cities, Hampton, Newport News, and Norfolk.  The outperforming division, there at 94% and only $11,893, is West Point.  The state averages are $11,745 and 77%.

The Big Spenders are:

image

Excel is glad to provide a linear fit to the data and to announce that there is no correlation between the division pass rate and the expenditure per student.

Here are the graphs for the other subjects and the five subject average.  Notice that the scale of the ordinate changes from graph to graph.

image

image

image

image

image

Note: In a couple of cases, the Newport News point was hiding behind the datum for another division; in those cases I colored the covering point.

Looking at just the four peer cities (Hampton, N.News, and Norfolk in red from the left and Richmond in yellow) and the state average (in blue), we get:

image

image

image

image

image

image

Two obvious conclusions:

  • By division, more money does not correlate with better SOL performance.
  • Richmond is spending a lot and teaching very little.


—————————————–

I attempted to post the data table; the software choked (sigh!).  If you’d like a copy, email john [at] crankytaxpayer [dot] org.