The 2023 edition of KPI’s annual Public Education Fact Book is now available. As in previous editions, the 2023 version is an invaluable resource for a plethora of public education data on student achievement, K-12 spending, enrollment, employment and more. The information provided is on multiple levels – statewide, districtwide, and nationwide – and for multiple years, some data goes back for decades.
For example, the 2023 Fact Book shows that total K-12 spending for the 2021-22 school year totaled nearly $8 billion, with per-pupil expenditures just shy of $17 thousand. Both figures are record amounts and substantial increases from the prior year. Simultaneously, student achievement continues to decline. New results from the nationwide 2022 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), show Kansas 4th and 8th graders scored much lower than the previous assessment in 2019.
The Fact Book also presents data that shows other states – states with more school choice – like Indiana and Florida, spend much less per pupil and have better NAEP scores.
Another interesting phenomenon found in the Fact Book has to do with student enrollment and school employment. For nearly the past two decades, the percentage increase in the number of teachers has risen only slightly more than enrollment. However, the percentage increase in management staff has outpaced the growth in teaching positions fivefold.
Understanding the state of public education in Kansas is more vital now than ever. In the 2023 legislative session the Kansas Legislature, buoyed by data that is in the Fact Book, was only a few votes shy of passing a universal ESA bill similar to those in Iowa, Utah and Arkansas that provides for real school choice in the state.
Please note that all data comes from official sources. Most is sourced from KSDE, but data is also gleaned from the governor’s office, federal sources, and proprietary results obtained from ACT.
Both digital and printed versions of the current Fact Book are available. The digital form can be accessed by following the above link. A printed edition is available upon request. It is a great research tool to have at your disposal and is easy to carry. And despite sounding as if it would be very bulky, it’s actually only about the size of your phone.