New government report shows massive $9.7 billion increase in education spending provided no improvement for Washington students

By LIV FINNE  | 
Apr 27, 2018
POLICY NOTES

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Key Findings

  1. The federal government just announced 2017 scores for Washington’s 4th and 8th graders on the NAEP, the national test given every two years to measure student progress in math, science, reading and writing.
  2. Washington’s leaders promised more spending on schools would improve student learning results.
  3. Since 2009 the state of Washington has increased spending on the schools by $9.7 billion, a 75 percent increase.
  4. 2017 NAEP scores show test scores have barely budged. The achievement gap between minority and white students remains as large as ever.
  5. Other states are finding that student learning improves when parents are given access to public charter schools, Education Savings Accounts, vouchers, online learning, and other forms of school choice.
  6. More money has not improved public schools. Further, state data show that in 2017 administrators sent 160,000 Washington state children to 253 failing public schools.

Last week the U.S. Department of Education reported the 2017 results for the NAEP test, known as the Nation’s Report Card.  The test is given every two years to 4th and 8th graders in all 50 states and the District of Columbia to measure student progress in math, science, reading, and writing.

For years Washington state has enacted massive increases in education spending on the pledge that more spending would improve student learning, so I decided to go back and review what state leaders have promised us, and compare it with the latest NAEP scores.

I found that the promises made to the public are false – more spending has not resulted in improvements in student learning.

The NAEP results for Washington state show test scores have barely budged.  The achievement gap between minority and white students remains as large as ever.  Yet these nearly-flat test results come after school administrators and unions have received what they constantly ask for; huge increases in their budgets.  Education spending by the state of Washington is up by $9.7 billion, or 75%, in nine years.

The poor levels of student learning are not what state leaders promised. 

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