Graduation Rates, SAT Scores and Educational Spending. Who is the Best and Worst?

Does increased spending on Education lead to higher performance?

*******Go to 2009 State SAT Scores List  for the latest SAT results.*********

This question was raised in prior posts.

I thought you might find these 2 charts interesting.  Best and Worst States For Education Spending ranks all states by spending and shows the SAT Score Rank of its students. I also have attached a Chart from  Heritage that shows that the best funded cities do not have the highest graduation rates.

The more money spent clearly does not show up in higher SAT scores or graduation rates. 

New Jersey spends the most money.  Its SAT score rank is 33 .  New York, at 2nd on the money spend, ranks 44th on SAT scores.  The “Worst” State for Education Spending is Utah yet its students rank 20th on the SAT score list above NY and New Jersey. Utah spends about 1/3 the dollars of NY and New Jersey.  Its students do better than all of the Top 10 spenders on Education.  Utah may be considered a Best State for Education considering its bang for the dollar.

Arizona
is the next lowest spend state yet ranks 29th on the SAT Scores list.  Arizona students perform better than the top 6 spenders.  Mesa, AZ which is at the bottom of the Heritage list of city spends has a graduation rate of 77.1%.  Mesa spends only 40% of Boston which has a much lower graduation rate of 57%.

Clearly money is not the only factor that impacts educational performance.  You may want to consider carefully your state’s approach to education.  It appears more dollars on education does not lead to better results.  Tell your political leaders you want accountability for results not just money spent.

State Ed Spend SAT Rank
1 New Jersey 15,033 36
2 New York 14,593 44
3 DC 14,214 50
4 Connecticut 13,059 31
5 Vermont 12,749 30
6 Rhode Island 12,425 41
7 Massachusetts 12,398 29
8 Delaware 11,619 43
9 Alaska 11,551 33
10 Maine 11,014 51
11 Pennsylvania 10,900 45
12 Wyoming 10,852 16
13 Maryland 10,682 37
14 New Hampshire 10,405 26
15 Wisconsin 10,388 6
16 Michigan 9,947 13
17 Ohio 9,936 23
18 West Virginia 9,609 32
19 Hawaii 9,581 48
20 Indiana 9,498 38
21 Illinois 9,473 2
22 Virginia 9,463 34
23 Nebraska 9,365 9
24 Minnesota 9,284 3
25 Montana 8,661 22
26 Oregon 8,595 27
27 Georgia 8,589 46
28 Iowa 8,479 1
29 Kansas 8,440 7
30 California 8,418 35
31 Missouri 8,368 4
32 New Mexico 8,342 21
33 North Dakota 8,337 7
34 Colorado 8,334 18
35 Washington 8,218 25
36 Louisiana 8,167 14
37 Arkansas 8,156 11
38 South Carolina 8,039 49
39 South Dakota 7,949 5
40 Texas 7,716 42
41 Florida 7,683 47
42 Kentucky 7,595 15
43 Alabama 7,532 19
44 North Carolina 7,352 41
45 Tennessee 7,295 10
46 Nevada 7,246 41
47 Oklahoma 7,039 12
48 Mississippi 6,973 17
49 Idaho 6,729 24
50 Arizona 6,586 29
51 Utah 5,555 20


Sources:  Dept of Education.  Spending not regionally adjusted.  College Board.

http://www.heritage.org/research/Education/images/b2179_chart5.gif
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Best and Worst States for Smart Drivers, Kansas Best, New Jersey Worst

GMAC does an annual study of state rankings for the Best and Worst States for driver knowledge.

Kansas drivers are rated the most knowledgeable. Wyoming, Nebraska, Idaho and Minnesota round out the top 5 Best States respectively. New Jersey is Worst State for knowledgeable drivers.  DC, New York, Massachusetts and Georgia are rated along with New Jersey as the 5 Worst States.

The study was done by administering a 20 question to test to 5,524 licensed drivers and ranking the results by state.  The Midwest has
the most knowledgeable drivers while the Northeast had the lowest scores and highest exam failure rates.  For more detail go to

We will take a look in another post whether state insurance rates are associated with driver knowledge.

Best and Worst States for Knowledgeable Drivers 2008

1          Kansas
2          Wyoming
3          Nebraska
4          Idaho
5          Minnesota
6          Arkansas
6          South Dakota
8          Oregon
9          Iowa
9          Washington
11        Indiana
12        Wisconsin
13        Utah
14        Missouri
15        Alabama
15        Colorado
15        Montana
18        Michigan
18        Texas
18        Vermont
21        North Dakota
22        Arkansas
22        North Carolina
22        New Mexico
22        Oklahoma
26        Delaware
26        Ohio
28        Florida
29        Kentucky
30        New Hampshire
31        Maine
32        Illinois
33        California
33        Connecticut
33        Tennessee
36        Arizona
36        Nevada
36        Pennsylvania
39        South Carolina
40        Vermont
41        Rhode Island
42        Maryland
43        West Virginia
44        Louisiana
45        Hawaii
46        Mississippi
47        Georgia
48        Massachusetts
49        New York
50        District of Columbia
51        New Jersey

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State Unemployment Up in Every State in the Union, Wyoming Best, Michigan Worst State

State Unemployment Up in Every State in the Union, Wyoming Best, Michigan Worst State

State Unemployment Up in Every State of the Union

Michigan Surges to 10.6%.  Wyoming has lowest unemployment in nation at 3.4%.  Rhode Island  is the only other state with over 10.0%. California at 9.3% leaves millions of Californians unemployed. 

Texas was the only state that recorded a statistically significant year on year increase in the number of people working.  Employment increased by 153,000.   The largest statistically significant month over month decreases in employment were experienced in California (-78,000), Michigan (-59,000), New York (-54,000) and Illinois (-36,000).  Losing states show up in a number of areas for being unattractive to business.  See some of our other posts for info on state tax burdens, unionionization rates and attractiveness for business.

If you are looking for a job, the low unemployment states may provide work but you must be careful to understand the kind of industries and work that is available for your skill sets.  Most states have differing industries and worker needs.  Unemployment for December 2008  is listed below for all 50 states and District of Columbia.  The national unemployment rate is now at 7.2%

     Rank       State                                                                                                                                                                  

1 WYOMING 3.4
2 NORTH DAKOTA 3.5
3 SOUTH DAKOTA 3.9
4 NEBRASKA 4.0
5 UTAH 4.3
6 IOWA 4.6
6 NEW HAMPSHIRE 4.6
8 NEW MEXICO 4.9
8 OKLAHOMA 4.9
8 WEST VIRGINIA 4.9
11 KANSAS 5.2
12 MONTANA 5.4
12 VIRGINIA 5.4
14 HAWAII 5.5
15 MARYLAND 5.8
16 LOUISIANA 5.9
17 TEXAS 6.0
18 COLORADO 6.1
19 ARKANSAS 6.2
19 DELAWARE 6.2
19 WISCONSIN 6.2
22 IDAHO 6.4
22 VERMONT 6.4
24 ALABAMA 6.7
24 PENNSYLVANIA 6.7
26 ARIZONA 6.9
26 MASSACHUSETTS 6.9
26 MINNESOTA 6.9
29 MAINE 7.0
29 NEW YORK 7.0
31 CONNECTICUT 7.1
31 NEW JERSEY 7.1
31 WASHINGTON 7.1
34 MISSOURI 7.3
35 ALASKA 7.5
36 ILLINOIS 7.6
37 KENTUCKY 7.8
37 OHIO 7.8
39 TENNESSEE 7.9
40 MISSISSIPPI 8.0
41 FLORIDA 8.1
41 GEORGIA 8.1
43 INDIANA 8.2
44 NORTH CAROLINA 8.7
45 DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 8.8
46 OREGON 9.0
47 NEVADA 9.1
48 CALIFORNIA 9.3
49 SOUTH CAROLINA 9.5
50 RHODE ISLAND 10.0
51 MICHIGAN 10.6

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics

Best and Worst States to Work

Depending on the state you live, you may have more difficulty working in your desired occupation.  Licensing rules make it harder for people to work as in many cases you must spend money for licensing before knowing if you have work.  It limits supply of workers by making it harder for workers to get a job.  Reason Magazine’s study of Occupational licensing highlights states’ occupational licensing requirements.  They even list the “Most Outrageous Licensing Laws.”  Can you imagine that you must have license to be a florist in Louisiana?  No other state does that!  Can you imagine that you must have a license to be a junkyard dealer in Ohio?  No other state has that requirement.  If you travel into Vermont as a photographer you must have a license.  Yet if you live in Vermont you are qualified.  And in Iowa you must have a license to be a munure applicator.  I wonder if there is a special course you can take online to qualify for that!!!!  Licensing requirements hurt workers.  The Best and Worst States follow.  Go to www.reason.org/news/occupational_licensing_rankings_082407.shtml for the full report.

Worst States to Work                         # Job Licenses

1.  California                                                             177
2.  Connecticut                                                         155
3.  Maine                                                                 134
4.  New Hampshire                                                   130
5.  Arkansas                                                             128

Best States to Work

1.  Missouri                                                              41
2.  Washington                                                         43
3.  Kansas                                                               56
4.  South Carolina                                                    60
5.  Idaho                                                                 61