Any parent in Nevada knows the state seems not to make the grade. Year after year, Nevada ranks at or near the bottom when it comes to education. Also near the bottom of the list is how much Nevada spends per student. Governor Lombardo said in Monday’s State Of The State that he wants to increase Nevada education spending.
The proposed number he has thrown out is two billion dollars to prop up the amount spent per student from the current $10,290 to $12,406 – which would make Nevada go from near the bottom to towards the national average.
That money could mean paying teachers a better wage, which would help school systems like the Clark County School District help retain great talent. It could mean more resources and technology available to kids to help them make the grade. While the budget is proposed, it’s up to Carson City to pass it starting next month when the next legislative session gets underway.
Does more money mean Nevada education will improve?
Depending on who you ask, more money means better results in the classroom – or doesn’t make a lick of difference. The National Education Association says plainly more money means better results. An OpEd in The Hill says it doesn’t always mean better results. The Brookings Institute says “it’s not nothing,” putting the emphasis on long-term funding, as short term infusions of cash don’t see results.
Whatever the case is, Governor Lombardo makes it clear while he wants to increase investment, if it doesn’t move the needle the next step is a change in the education structure in the state.
Is money the answer? Or is something else at play?
We painstakingly went through the ratings and have come up with a list of the states and their funding, from least funded to most. We’ve also found the education ranking in each state. Now you can decide if there is a correlation or not.
There are some outlier states like Utah and Colorado that are dead last in spending but significantly better in education rating. Meanwhile other states that spend through the roof, like Wyoming and Alaska, severely underperform against their spending. The average difference between ranking and spending is 11.3 positions. 17 states were within 5 positions of spending and ranking.
A closer correlation can be made when it comes to the state’s poverty rate compared to it’s education ranking. The average difference between the state’s education ranking and poverty rate is only 9.12 spots… with again 17 states being within 5 positions comparing poverty rate and education ranking. The higher the poverty rate, the higher the likelihood of less parental oversight and less access to resources. That can obviously lead to worse results. Utah has the lowest spending per student, but the 2nd best poverty rate. They find themselves at number 21 in school rating. Meanwhile Louisiana has the 22nd highest spending, but is 2nd from the bottom in poverty rate. They rate 46th in education. So while funding the schools is good, having a well funded populace seems to be better.
Whatever the case, we aren’t complaining. With as much money that comes into this state, Las Vegas especially, there’s no excuse for being at the bottom of the funding list.