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Fantastic Data Source…and Charts!

May 17, 2011

I found a fantastic site for data and resources for CA teachers to get themselves up to date on what we spend as a society in CA and how that stacks up to other states and even the prison system spending.  We were discussing at lunch today the incredible difference between what we in CA spend on prisons vs. what we spend on schools, it is stunning in its grotesqueness.

Education Spending as a Proportion of Per-Capita Spending on Other Public Services
A second measure of effort is how the state compares with the nation on education spending versus other public services. During the past 10 years, the percentages have varied, but the overall pattern has been similar: California’s spending on corrections, police and fire protection, and health and hospitals has consistently been well above the national average in each area; public welfare and higher education spending was close to the U.S. average, and highway expenditures were below average every year. Spending on public schools falls right in the middle of this scale: On a per-capita (or per-resident) basis, the state’s spending on K­-12 education has been slightly above the national average since 2001-02.

The Effect of High Labor Costs
The cost of labor plays an important role in staffing levels. In 2007-08, California ranked 50th in the ratio of teachers to students.At the same time, California has consistently ranked at or near the top in average teacher salary. In 2007-08, California ranked first, with an average salary of $65,808, according to NEA. New York was a close second with an average of $65,491, just $317 less. The national average was $52,800. Of course, California teachers’ salaries do not go as far as the same pay would in other states. When California’s average teacher salary is adjusted using the Comparable Wage Index discussed above, it falls to $60,020, somewhat closer to the national average.This state’s relatively high salaries combined with below average per-pupil spending translate into staff-to-pupil ratios that are among the largest in the nation. As a result, California school and district employees are responsible for more students than their counterparts in other states. During the past decade, California has consistently ranked among the bottom three states in total staffing ratios, according to data from NCES. In some employee categories, staffing levels in California are especially lean. For example, this state’s high schools have about half as many teachers on a per-pupil basis. And a California school district with 10,000 students would typically have five district officials/administrators and two librarians, while the average same-sized district in the nation as a whole would have 12 officials/administrators and 11 librarians.

There is more excellent data on the site link above.


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