April 20, 2001

New Study Shows Money Alone Will Not Increase Achievement

Spending more on education doesn't mean students learn more, says a new study on student achievement released today by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the nation's largest bipartisan, individual membership organization of state legislators. While per pupil expenditures increased nationwide by 22.8 percent in constant dollars over the past 20 years--from $5,087 in 1979 to $6,251 in 1999--standardized test scores have remained relatively stagnant.

The eighth edition of the study, titled "Report Card on American Education: A State-By-State Analysis" covers two generations of students, 1976-2000, and grades each state using more than 100 measures of educational resources and achievement. It shows no evident correlation between conventional measures of educational inputs, such as expenditures per pupil and teacher

salaries, and educational outputs, such as average scores on standardized tests.

"America's public schools are not serving our nation well," said Duane Parde, ALEC's Executive Director. "Now more than ever--our leaders must be open to new and innovative ways to improve the quality of education for all our children."

The Federal Government has spent nearly $130 billion since 1965--and more than $80 billion in the past decade alone--in an unsuccessful effort to close the achievement gap between disadvantaged students and their more affluent peers.

"We have spent $125 billion of Title I money over 25 years--money spent on low income students. And if the truth be told, we have little to show for it. This is not just wasted money; more importantly, it is wasted potential and wasted hope." President Bush, April 12, 2001, White House education event.

"There's an old saying that goes, 'Don't throw good money after bad,'" said Tennessee Representative Steve McDaniel, ALEC's 2001 National Chairman. "It's less important to increase investments in education than it is to make the right investments in students."

To download a copy of the report go to http://www.alec.org/.