2016 Public Education Factbook

James FrankoEducation, Research

KPI’s fourth annual Public Education Fact Book is a one-stop shop for data on public school information from The Sunflower State. Numerous scientific surveys show that citizens are grossly 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. This fact book series aims to rectify this situation.

Aside from ACT scores, the data in this Fact Book all come from official government sources, including local school districts, the Kansas Department of Education (KSDE) and the U.S. Department of Education. All data is the most current available and, unless otherwise noted, is through 2014-2015 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.

2016-K-12-Fact-Book

The 2016 Public Education Fact Book is an updated version of the series with some new charts included on carryover cash, state assessment, NAEP, and ACT national ranks and the years (centuries) needed to close achievement gaps.

While many Kansas students are doing quite well 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.

It may be intuitive to think that more spending is needed to close achievement gaps but as shown in the Fact Book, student achievement on independent tests remains unchanged despite billions more in taxpayer support.

Many states get the same or better results while spending less than others. Wisconsin, for example, spends considerably more than Kansas but student scores are most often lower than Kansas. Florida, on the other hand, spends considerably less per-pupil than Kansas but gets slightly better results with most cohorts. At the very least, this indicates that it’s not how much is spent that matters; it’s how the money is spent.

Kansas taxpayers are investing a lot of money into public education. Indeed, taxpayer support of public education in Kansas set a new record in 2015, at $6.08 billion. And the KSDE estimates that 2016 will set another record at $6.14 billion or $13,200 per-pupil.

Accurate information is necessary for good decision-making. We hope you find this Fact Book useful as you reach your own informed decisions regarding public education in Kansas.

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