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The Empire State forks out more money per student than any other in the U.S., but that’s not necessarily paying for the best.
New Yorkers aren’t getting the most bang for their buck on public schooling.
The state spends $21,206 per student — more than any other state — to get a public education K-12, says a survey from GoBankingRates. Other states do better with less.
The state that ranks best for education is New Hampshire, says U.S. News and World Report. They ranked public schools based on the amount of students enrolled, teacher-to-student ratio and pass or fail rates of standardized testing compared to a national level. New York didn’t even make the top 10 — it came in at 23.
Some may think to themselves, “well I’ll just send my child to private school, then.” If you’re a New Yorker, that can run you $16,583 for the average tuition costs. The annual cost of tuition to some private schools in New York can run upward of $50,000, according to the The Wall Street Journal.
We compared the Best States for Education rankings and K-12 public spending figures to find out which state spends the most on public education. For most states, the rank correlates with the spending — except at the very top of the list.
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Utah (No. 50)
K-12 Spending Per Public Student: $6,575
U.S. News K-12 Rank: 20
Despite having the lowest spending per student, Utah provides an above average public school education. That's not surprising, given Utah is the only state to get an A+ ranking in financial literacy.
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Idaho (No. 49)
K-12 Spending Per Public Student: $6,923
U.S. News K-12 Rank: 25
Idahoan grade schoolers enjoy a decent education for the second-lowest per-student spending in the country.
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Arizona (No. 48)
K-12 Spending Per Public Student: $7,490
U.S. News K-12 Rank: 48
Arizona ranks exactly where you would expect based on its spending. Of course, teachers don't come cheap: Elementary teachers have an average starting salary of $33,000, close to the average student loan.
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Oklahoma (No. 47)
K-12 Spending Per Public Student: $8,082
U.S. News K-12 Rank: 42
Oklahoma ranks slightly higher on public grade school education than the state's spending would suggest.
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Mississippi (No. 46)
K-12 Spending Per Public Student: $8,456
U.S. News K-12 Rank: 47
The Magnolia State's K-12 education rank is in line with what the state spends.
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Vermont (No. 5)
K-12 Spending Per Public Student: $18,039
U.S. News K-12 Rank: 4
Vermont's public school students also see education quality proportionate to state spending. Interestingly, Vermont also has the second-highest published in-state tuition and fees for public universities.
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New Jersey (No. 4)
K-12 Spending Per Public Student: $18,235
U.S. News K-12 Rank: 3
New Jersey ranks slightly higher for K-12 education than its spending would suggest.
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Connecticut (No. 3)
K-12 Spending Per Public Student: $18,377
U.S. News K-12 Rank: 5
Connecticut, on the other hand, ranks slightly lower on K-12 education than its spending suggests. Hopefully, the lesson plan includes teaching kids about money.
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Alaska (No. 2)
K-12 Spending Per Public Student: $20,172
U.S. News K-12 Rank: 46
Alaska has one of the sharpest divides between what it spends on public education and where it ranks for education.
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New York (No. 1)
K-12 Spending Per Public Student: $21,206
U.S. News K-12 Rank: 31
The Empire State forks out more money per student than any other in the U.S., but that’s not necessarily paying for the best. It ranks below average on U.S. News' list of Best States for Education for K-12 — but still gets a lot more bang for its buck than Alaska.
The amount spent on teaching staff salaries and benefits has jumped around over the years. In 2013-2014, 80 percent of funding was allocated towards them. Whereas, in 2010-2011, 60 percent went towards paying teachers and teaching aides.
American teachers are well-paid when compared to other countries, according to Vox. But when comparing teachers’ salaries to the average U.S. workers with a bachelors degree, their salaries don’t come close.
Does higher teacher pay equal higher education costs?
There’s a relationship, but even that isn’t entirely consistent.
While it costs on average $21,206 per student in New York, teachers are paid the second highest salaries in the U.S. — $76,593 on average. Compare to Alaska, which spends $20,172 per student and their teachers earn $77,843, the top teacher salary in the U.S.
Alaska also ranks 43 out of 50 on U.S. News and World Report’s K-12 list of “best states for education.” So again, another state they may be spending more than necessary — unless they need a lot of heating oil.
“While no one enters the teaching industry for the money, our study findings reveal some rather large income discrepancies depending on where in the country teachers live,” says Kristen Bonner, lead researcher on the study. “For those in the education industry who might be considering a relocation, a state’s job opportunity and competition ratings are also important factors to keep in mind.”
So teachers don’t go into their profession to make a lot of money. You got to give credit to New Hampshire though, they ranked number one in best teaching and they spend only $14,697 on education per student.
Their teachers may be doing some of the best work in the country, but they didn’t even make the top 10 highest paying list — then again, they didn’t make the worst either.
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