Hey Nancy,

What's Up With That

If you have a question and would like to ask Nancy "What's up with that?", please email Nancy@NancyJester.com.

Archive for November, 2013

Georgia Supreme Court Upholds OCGA §20-2-73

On Monday, the Georgia Supreme Court released a 47-page opinion upholding the constitutionality of the law providing for the removal of local boards of education. I am thankful for the closure this opinion now provides the citizens and parents of DeKalb County. At every turn I opposed the proliferation of legal entanglements, including this case. As a matter of principle, I do not believe children and taxpayers are well served by spending more money on lawyers and political concerns.

While the Supreme Court’s ruling is one step down the path to improving education in DeKalb, it is just the beginning. Georgia must implement an effective and meaningful system of quality assurance for education. As the Georgia Supreme Court stated today, “(T) he State has a substantial interest in ensuring that those local boards function competently and in a manner that does not imperil the education or future prospects of the students enrolled in the school systems.” Every state that borders Georgia has a higher graduation rate and spends less per pupil. Georgia’s graduation rate stands at 67% and that number is proof we have imperiled the education and future prospects of too many of our children.

The Supreme Court further reminds us that, “The Constitution makes public education not only the business of local jurisdictions, but also the State as a whole.” We must demand more vigorous oversight at the state level. There must be consequences for districts that fail our children and fail to safeguard the public’s money. States like Virginia and Texas have strong state public accountability models and so should Georgia.

I am thankful and relieved the Supreme Court decision is now behind us. We have more work ahead. I hope that you’ll join me in this effort.

posted by Nancy Jester in AdvancED SACS and have Comments Off

The Real Story of Per Pupil Spending

In October, the Marietta Daily Journal published an article I wrote about Common Core, Common Core is No Path to Prosperity. Subsequently, Politifact ran a piece examining my comments about Georgia’s aggregate spending on education.  They confirmed that, indeed, Georgia does spend in the top ten on education in the nation.  Click here to review the U.S. Census data on that.  The Politifact article went onto discuss per pupil spending by state – a topic that I did not address.  Their point was that if one reviews per pupil spending, Georgia’s ranking drops significantly.  They further indicate that ranking drops, “when adjusted for regional costs of living…”.  The citation embedded in their article for this claim doesn’t given the adjusted per pupil data, rank or methodology used for adjusting the figures.  It’s fair to assume that their per pupil spending data is adjusted using CPI information by region (their stated level of adjustment).

I was pleased that Politifact noted that my fact on aggregate spending was correct.  Pursuant to their further critique, they would have preferred I discuss per pupil spending.  The main reason I did not discuss per pupil spending is there are significant differences in the wage structures for education professionals and their benefits between states.  The largest components of costs in K-12 education are salaries and benefits so adjusting each state relative to each other would be necessary for an accurate comparison.

I downloaded the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ most current Occupational Employment Statistics to gather salary/wage data for each state.  I isolated those occupational profile codes specific to K-12 education in each state.  I averaged these wages to determine an average salary.  I then compared this average salary to Georgia’s average salary.  As you would expect, some states have significantly higher salaries than Georgia.  These states are often those that we think of as having a higher cost of living.  For example, adjusted against Georgia’s salaries, New York’s educational salaries are 31% higher; Massachusetts are 17% higher.

After developing a measure between Georgia and every other state, I used this to adjust each state’s per pupil spending relative to Georgia’s and then ranked the states’ adjusted per pupil spending.  The result is that Georgia’s per pupil spending is in the middle of the pack.  We rank 25th in per pupil spending on instruction and 28th in total per pupil spending.

I’ll leave you with this.  Every state that borders Georgia has a higher graduation rate.  And, every state that borders Georgia spends less per pupil than Georgia.  You can go west to Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas and you will find that they too, also have a higher graduation rate and all but Louisiana spend less per pupil than Georgia.

posted by Nancy Jester in Georgia Education and have Comments (2)
Follow

Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers: