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Public Education

A question arose recently when I complained about the academic achievment grade of California Public Schools. The liberal response was (as usual)  "So, Arizona is just as bad". So I was challenged to find the facts.
I found It very difficult to obtain data comparing the educational performance ranking of the 50 States. Perhaps School Administrators don't want to be compared  We know they certainly don't want to be tested for academic acheivement. That is what President Bush's "No Child Left Behind" (NCLB) attempts to do and they have been resisting all the way.
According to Data obtained from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). CA is about 4th from the bottom. I was dissapointed to find AZ is about 6th from the bottom. This rating is figured from the standardized testing used in the Federal  NCLB. They use a Grade 4, Grade 8, and Grade 12 Reading and Math comprehension test. The reason the states are reluctant to compare themselves is that public education is strictly a function of the States, not the Federal Government.
Nowhere in the Constitution does it mention Public Education.
{Amendment 10 - Powers of the States and People. Ratified 12/15/1791. The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.}
However, in recent years, Federal Lawmakers have been defying the Constitution and providing funding and hence direction to our public schools. When George Bush signed “No child left behind” into law, it meant that the schools would be rated through standardized testing, and that bad schools would receive less Federal funding and the good schools would receive more. The idea being that concerned parents could move their children from underperforming schools to those that do a better job. It is interesting then to look at the high scoring states versus the low and see what is their per student spending.

 Top 10 scoring states:

Bottom 10 scoring states: :

   MA $ 12564 

   OK $  6941 

  NJ $ 14954 

  SC  $  8120

  CT $ 13072

  HA  $  9876

  NH $ 10396

  NV  $  7177

  VT $ 12805

  AZ  $  6515

  PA $ 10723

  NM $  8354

 MT $ 8626

   CA  $  8301

 VA $ 9445

    LA  $  8486 

  MN $ 9159

    MS  $ 7173 

    WY $ 11437

    DC  $13752


There seems to be little relevance of spending to academic achievement. The highest spender scored 2nd, the next highest spender scored 50th. California spent $8301 per student, and only performed better than Louisiana, Mississippi and District of Columbia.

Without the “no child left behind” law, it is possible that Arizona residents would have to pay for California schools, simply because California spends more per student. 
As John McCain recently stated: "We need to find bad teachers a new job".
(this is probably the only time you will hear me quote John McCain)
Interesting notes:
SAT Scores. CA :1026,       AZ:1056.
Graduation rates: CA: 70.7%,     AZ:76.8%
Other interesting notes. California School teachers have just passed Connnecticut as the highest paid public school teachers in the nation. California has a $15 billion deficit for 2008.
Source: www.schooldatadirect.org              www.ed.gov

"Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach"