Ranking the states on education

Another school ranking hit the scene last week, and the upshot is that if you're looking for a good value on your education dollar, you might want to move to Utah.

The American Legislative Exchange Council's "Report Card on American Education" ranks states by comparing their K-12 schools' scores on a number of standardized tests with the amount of money spent to educate each pupil.

No. 1 in academics, Iowa was 32nd in per-student expenditure, with a $5,725 figure. The comparison index is computed by subtracting a state's place in the academic ranking from its place in the expenditure ranking. The resulting figure shows which state's taxpayers got the most bang for their education buck. In this case, that would be Utah, with an index score of 35. North Dakota was next at 34, Iowa was third at 31, and Nebraska fourth at 28.

The District of Columbia brought up the rear with a score of minus 45. Louisiana notched a minus 10 and Mississippi a minus 1.

Oklahomans had the distinction, dubious though it may be, of posting a ranking of 37 in both academics and expenditures. With an index score of 0, Oklahoma is the only state whose residents, in effect, got exactly what they paid for in public education.

Washington, D.C., ranked at the bottom, followed in ascending order by Pennsylvania, New York, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Delaware, West Virginia, Michigan, Georgia, and South Carolina.

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