Monday, January 7, 2013

Educational Performance?

StudentsFirst just released their state rankings.  You know who came in first?
Louisiana is the top-rated state, according to StudentsFirst. It ranks 49th of 51 on eighth grade reading scores and 47th of 51 on eighth grade math scores.
Washington, DC (dead last on NEAP scores) comes in 4th in the nation for educational performance as rated by StudentsFirst.  Now it is possible that these scores predict improvement in these states and that this is the result of bad past policy.

It's also interesting to see some of the categories.  Look at page 77 of the methodology report and see that they lower the rating of school system that restrict class sizes (bigger classes = better) and, even more interestingly, rate a state more poorly for having a defined benefit pension plan.  How does a defined benefit pension plan and the absence of class limits IMPROVE education.  I could imagine these being orthogonal to educational outcomes and thus argued to be options for fiscal improvement.  But it is hard to argue that they worsen student outcomes.

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