Return on investment, or ROI, is a concept familiar to the private sector. But as government budgets tighten, there have been renewed calls to quantify a very old debate-- how much money is enough in public education?
Unlikely as it is this question can ever be answered to everyone's satisfaction, The Center for American Progress has taken a crack at it, in conducting yearlong effort to study the efficiency of the nation’s public education system. This study represents the first-ever attempt to evaluate the productivity of almost every major school district in the country.
Productivity is defined as the academic achievement of a school district relative to its educational spending, while controlling for factors outside a district’s influence, such as cost of living and students in poverty. This link provides very ready-to-read and color-coded tables, maps, summaries & related links to the full report compiled:
Adobe Flash District Efficiency Graphic
State Highlights: Operating on what is a 1 to 6 scale (using color graphics) each district with more than 250 students is evaluated in this report. Achievement index and per pupil spending were factored into the Center for American Progress' methodology, with the distribution for Minnesota's 291 qualifying districts being (according to a quick perusal):
Rating # Districts %
High 40 14
Above Avg 67 23
Good 53 18
Fair 26 9
Below Avg 64 22
Poor 41 14
Total 291 100
Interestingly in Minnesota, the High & Low categories, as well as the Above Average and Below Average groupings, are almost mirror images of each other. In looking at the state's regions from a high level, it appears that most metropolitan districts (save Minneapolis and St. Paul) are above average, while many in the north central corridor of greater Minnesota have a lower retrurn on their academic investment. Check out the link above to see how your district or region of the state is faring!