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School Spending, Performance Not Linked, Report Concludes

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A state-by-state comparison of student achievement and school-funding levels shows no correlation between spending and performance, a report released by the American Legislative Exchange Council last week contends.

"The data convincingly demonstrate that after the most sustained financial commitment ever made to solving the problems of America's public schools, public schools have cost us dearly but are performing no better,'' said Samuel A. Brunelli, the president of the ALEC Foundation.

The report by the organization of conservative state legislators found large growth in school funding, pay, and staffing, yet no corresponding jump in performance measures.

Among the report's findings:

  • Public school spending rose by 47 percent in constant dollars over the past 20 years while enrollments fell by 7 percent over the same time.
  • States with many minority students showed the most improvement between 1972 and 1993.
  • States ranking at the top of college-entrance-test and graduation-rate comparisons enroll a high percentage of students in small schools.

Copies of "Report Card on American Education 1993'' are available for $40 each from the American Legislative Exchange Council, Office of Public Affairs, 214 Massachusetts Ave., N.E., Suite 240, Washington, D.C. 20002; (202) 547-4646.--L.H.

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