A liberal national think tank still ranks the Wake County school system as among the most educationally productive in North Carolina.
Wake was among 13 North Carolina school systems that received the highest productivity rating for return on investment in a report released July 9 by the Center for American Progress. Districts around the country were evaluated by comparing their academic achievement with their educational spending, while controlling for factors like cost of living and students in poverty.
The think tank, based in Washington D.C., found that Wake’s achievement is higher than would be predicted after accounting for its per-pupil spending and percentage of students in special programs such as subsidized school lunches.
Wake, which is the state’s largest school district, also did well on 2011 rankings done by the center.
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Conservative groups are putting their spin on the liberal group’s findings.
Terry Stoops, director of education studies for the John Locke Foundation, a conservative think tank in Raleigh, took the North Carolina data and ranked schools by achievement within their respective productivity ratings.
“As legislators continue to hash out budget adjustments for the coming year, all stakeholders should be reminded that it is not how much we spend on public education,” Stoops wrote Friday in his weekly CommenTerry. “Rather, it is how we spend it that matters most.”
In a post Sunday for the conservative Daily Haymaker, editor Brant Clifton said the new report shows “the schools with the lowest average spending-per-pupil are performing the best.” Based on the study, Clifton says you should “keep this all in mind the next time the lefties holler about not spending enough on the kiddies.”