A quick note on Center for American Progress Leaders and Laggards report.
On pages 23 & 24, this report attempts to grade state school funding systems and their level of “innovation.” But, the report pays no attention to a) whether these states actually perform well on any measures of outcomes, b) whether these states actually fund their schools well overall, or c) whether these states actually target any of that funding to where it’s needed most.
Quite simply, this report is complete garbage – at least the finance section! One cannot possibly rate “innovation” of a state school funding system without any regard for whether that system is sufficiently and equitably funded. You can’t stimulate innovation without an investment in Research and Development or the product itself! It really is that simple.
The best Finance grades in the report are given to such education funding laggards as:
- Arizona (see this previous post: https://schoolfinance101.wordpress.com/2009/03/07/raising-arizona-school-finance-cant-be-done/)
- Colorado (see this draft report which shows that Colorado maintains among the most regressive, in addition to poorly funded, state school finance systems) Most Regressive School Finance States
- North Dakota (some info can be found here: https://schoolfinance101.wordpress.com/2008/12/17/state-rankings-small-businesses-school-quality-and-economic-productivity/) North Dakota may be the least laggardly of this bunch!
- And Hawaii gets a gold star from Leaders and Laggards, despite starving its system into furlough Fridays!
Yet, high performing states that actually fund their systems well and target resources where needed most get lousy grades (Massachusetts & New Jersey). This stuff is just plain silly!
To lighten the mood a bit, here’s Willy Wonka summarizing the Arizona school finance formula: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5QGkOGZubQ