Education narrative favoring wealthier, whiter states was just proven wrong
by STAN LIEBOWITZ and MATT KELLY, The Hill, July 5, 2018 (excerpt)
…State education rankings published by organizations such as U.S. News and World Report or Education Week are highly influential. When education is discussed, whether the focus is teacher pay, unions, common core standards, or school choice, state education rankings are invariably used as a political cudgel.
These rankings have spurred a well-known consensus: states in the Northeast and upper Midwest have the best education systems. The worst states, supposedly, are fiscally conservative right-to-work states in the South and Southwest. It would seem parents must force politicians to spend into bankruptcy or else doom their illiterate, innumerate children to a menial existence.
But these conventional rankings fail to make an “apples to apples” comparison between states. Students arrive in class on the first day of school with different backgrounds, endowments, and life experiences, often related to race and socioeconomic status. Conventional rankings largely ignore these differing characteristics by combining scores on student achievement tests into an all-encompassing statewide average. This blunt over-aggregation skews school rankings in favor of wealthier, whiter states.
Conventional rankings also include metrics that aren’t directly related to learning. Some conventional rankings, like Education Week’s ranking, erroneously treat government spending on education as a purely positive factor, rewarding states that spend lavishly regardless of actual student performance.
We recently completed a study of state education systems and found that fixing these problems changes rankings substantially. Conventional rankings are thus severely flawed, as is the consensus of which states educate best.
We graded states based on how well they educate each type of student; i.e., how much “value added” in learning they create. Our analysis utilized the same Department of Education student achievement test data included in most conventional state rankings, but removed metrics unrelated to learning.
Crucially, we disaggregated scores by grade, race, and test subject in order to more accurately measure the value added by state educational systems.
This difference in approach is best understood with an actual example. When students are treated as a single monolithic group, Iowa students outscore their Texas counterparts in Math, Reading, and Science for fourth and eighth-grade students. But when students are disaggregated into major ethnic groups, the results reverse.
In fact, every ethnic group in Texas scores higher than their Iowa counterparts. In all, disaggregated Texas students surpass disaggregated Iowa students in 19 of the 20 exams they take in common….
read … Education narrative favoring wealthier, whiter states was just proven wrong
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SSRN: Fixing the Currently Biased State K-12 Education Rankings
ABSTRACT: State education rankings published by U.S. News and World Report, Education Week, and others, play a prominent role in legislative debate and public discourse concerning education. These rankings are based partly on achievement tests, which measure student learning, and partly on other factors that do not measure student learning.
When achievement tests are used as measures of learning in these conventional rankings, they are aggregated in a way that provides misleading results. To overcome these deficiencies, we create a new ranking of state education systems using disaggregated achievement data and excluding less informative factors that are not directly related to learning. Using our methodology changes the order of state rankings considerably. Many states with right-to-work laws in the South and Southwest score much higher.
Furthermore, we create another ranking of states based on the efficiency of education spending. In this efficiency ranking, achieving successful outcomes while economizing on education expenditures is considered better than doing so through lavish spending. Again, Southern states that are ranked low in conventional rankings experience a reversal of fortune.
Finally, our regression results indicate that unionization has a powerful negative influence on educational outcomes.
LINK: Download Report
Mentions of Hawaii in Report
…The COL adjusted rankings are probably the rankings which best reflect how efficient states are providing education. Adjusting for the cost of living has a large effect on high cost states such as Hawaii, California, and DC…. (pg8)
- The Authors’ Disaggregated Quality Rank – 37
- Aggregated Rank – 39
- USNWR Rank – 32
- Efficiency – 41
- COL Adjusted Efficiency -- 11