Friday, January 21, 2011

N.C. gets low and middling marks on education

On education issues, North Carolina is getting walloped in national news. Two reports show the state lagging on meeting education needs. Education Week, a national magazine, released its annual "Quality Counts" report recently. And the mag's compilation of education indicators found the Tar Heel state in the middle of the pack of states nationwide, getting a C+ overall. But on the important factors of k-12 achievement and education funding the state dragged the bottom, with a D and D+ respectively. Even Louisiana, which got a C-, does better on school financing.
But there's more bad news for North Carolina. Only 5 percent of North Carolina's students attend schools that are above average in school investment. According to "Quality Counts," North Carolina ranks 49th of the 49 states and the District of Columbia in per pupil investment, and this makes adjustments for cost-of-living differences.
To view the Quality Counts report in its entirety, click here.

In another report released this week, the Center for American Progress, some districts in North Carolina - including Weldon City Schools, Gates County Schools, and Washington County Schools - showed low educational productivity. In Return on Educational Investment: A district-by-district evaluation of U.S. educational productivity, Ulrich Boser compares the academic achievement of a school district with its educational spending, while controlling for factors like cost of living and students in poverty. The report makes several recommendations including encouraging smarter and fairer approaches to school funding by developing policies that direct money to students based on their needs, so that all schools have an equal opportunity to succeed.
For more on this evaluation of over 9,000 districts in over 45 states, go