Aside from ACT scores, all data in this Fact Book come from official government sources, including local school districts, the Kansas Department of Education (KSDE), and the U.S. Department of Education. All data are the most current available and, unless otherwise noted, span through the 2020-21 academic year. Additional information (including annual historical data) for individual school districts is available on our transparency site, KansasOpenGov.org, and on the KSDE site at ksde.org.
CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD the 2022 Public Education Fact Book.
We compiled this Fact Book because scientific surveys show that citizens are largely misinformed on many pertinent facts of public education in Kansas. Aid and spending per-pupil are much higher than many Kansans believe, and student achievement is lower than understood.
Many Kansas students are doing quite well, but thousands of students each year are falling behind, and a false sense of high achievement is a tremendous barrier to getting them the help they need.
The latest state assessment results show that only 34% of Kansas 10th graders who are designated “not low-income” are on track to be college and career-ready in English Language Arts. This number falls to 15% for 10th graders designated “low-income.” In Mathematics, only 26% of “not low-income” 10th graders are on track to be college and career-ready. This number falls to 9% for “low income” 10th graders. Results from the 2019 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) show a near across-the-board decline in reading and math skills among Kansas 4th and 8th graders. Note: there was no NAEP testing in 2021.
In short, it’s intuitive to believe that more money is needed to close achievement gaps but as shown in several tables, student achievement remains unchanged despite billions more in taxpayer support.
Table 17 illustrates that many states get the same or better results while spending less than others. For example, Florida and Indiana spend considerably less per-pupil than Kansas but get better results across nearly all the grade, subject, and income groupings shown. At the very least, this indicates that it’s not how much spent which matters; it’s how the money is spent.
Kansas taxpayers are investing a lot of money into public education. Indeed, Tables 1 and 2 show that taxpayer support of public education in Kansas amounted to a record $7.34 billion, or $15,869 per pupil, in 2021. KSDE estimates that 2022 support will set yet another record at $7.79 billion, or $16,686 per-pupil.
Accurate information is necessary for good decision-making.
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