Normally I don’t respond to allegations of untrue research, but I feel compelled to do so because it is the Governor of Pennsylvania.
I am not sure what the Governor is celebrating when only 49.2 percent of students in urban Philadelphia actually graduate based on 2006 data.
Governor Rendell also attributes the improvement of students who moved out of the lowest achievement rating to the additional $2,000 spent per student in 2003. We have shown, however, that the PSSA (the state standardized tests) standards are inferior to the NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress) standards. For instance, the PSSA found that 75% of 8th graders were proficient in reading, and 68% in math. But on the NAEP, only 36% and 38% reached proficiency, respectively.
Despite the gargantuan levels of K-12 spending, the average combined verbal and math SAT scores of Pennsylvania has dropped from 1000 in 1986 to 995 in 2008. Furthermore, there is no link between per-pupil spending and academic performance.
The Governor also fails to acknowledge the success of charter and cyber charter schools (as well as expanded private school choice). Not only do charter schools tend to serve minorities and lower income families, they also perform better when student demographics are factored in – all at a lower cost.
If the Governor really intends to improve performance he should allow students to choose the form of education that they desire most. Also, his favoritism to certain industries has denied children the opportunity of partaking in the Educational Improvement Tax Credit program.