Two decades of funding increases not helping students

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Illinois Ranks 32nd in National Survey of student test scores

Washington, D.C.—Over the past 20 years, education funding in America has increased by almost 80 percent so that today, school systems spend an average of more than $9,000 per student. Despite this record of growth, student achievement has remained stagnant. Illinois spends about $500 more per pupil than the national average while their standardized test scores tend to be below national averages. However, pockets of success do exist and can help guide policymakers and educators in the right direction toward better schools.

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has recently released the 13th edition of the Report Card on American Education: A State by State Analysis: 1983-1984 to 2003-2004, which ranks the educational performance of the school systems in the states, and the District of Columbia according to several criteria including National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), SAT and ACT scores.

“Raising student achievement levels and improving our schools is not a matter of spending more money doing the same things as before but rather using the resources we have available in better and more innovative ways,” said ALEC Education Task Force Chairman Rep. Jane Cunningham from Missouri. “We need to hold our schools accountable and demand results, and we need to give parents more choices when it comes to their children’s education,” she added.

The ALEC 2006 Report Card on American Education found, among other indicators, that 71 percent of eighth graders taking the NAEP mathematics exam in 2005 performed below the “proficiency” level. ALEC also found no direct correlation between spending per pupil or teacher salaries and achievement.

To obtain an electronic copy of ALEC’s 2006 Report Card on American Education contact Jorge Amselle at (202) 742-8536 or e-mail A PDF of the report is available online at

From the Feb. 21-27, 2007, issue

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