When it comes to education, few countries spend more per pupil than the U.S., with a national average of $10,499 in 2009, up 2.3 percent from the previous year. In some states, spending is much higher; New York spent $18,126 per student, followed by Washington ($16,408), New Jersey ($16,271), Alaska ($15,552) and Vermont ($15,175).
A big driver for the increases during a time when states were struggling with reduced revenue streams as a result of the recession was more spending on technology in education.
And it’s long been known that more spending per pupil doesn’t necessarily result in smarter kids, regardless of how that money is spent. In New York, which spent more per student than any other state in 2009, 38 percent of schools failed to meet minimum standards set under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. In Utah, which had the lowest spending rate per student at $6,356, 21 percent of schools fell short of the mark.
What’s more, there seems to be little correlation between per-pupil spending and dropout rates. In some cases, schools with some of the highest dropout rates also had the highest per-pupil spending, thanks to state and federal government funding targeted for struggling school districts. In the following table, drop out rate refers to the number of people between the ages of 16 and 19 who were not enrolled in school and did not have a high school diploma in 2009.
|School District||Enrollment||Spending per Student||Drop Out Rate (%)|
|El Paso, texas||62322||$8,796||5|
|San Jose, Calif.||31918||$9,540||6|
|District of Columbia||44331||$16,408||7|
|Long Beach, Calif.||87509||$9,155||7|
|New York City||981690||$19,146||7|