New Study Reveals Stunning K-12 Findings

The ratio of teachers to students has no bearing whatsoever on educational outcomes.
New Study Reveals Stunning K-12 Findings
By: George Noga – January 12, 2020

        We will get to the surprising (to some) results of an independent study of K-12 education, but first we tend to MLLG business – beginning with a preview of 2020.

          Our next post is a refresher about the evils (yes, evils) of government and why we write this blog. This is followed by a special posting on the anniversary of the Tet Offensive; it changed America in profound ways still being felt. This is followed by posts about the Electoral College and the 2020 election. We will blog about key election issues including gun violence and UBI. We will observe the 50th anniversary of Earth Day throughout April with several posts about the environment. You also can expect regular updates about the spending crisis, climate change and the election.

       Beginning our 13th year, we remain dedicated to showcasing, in our inimitable way, the blessings of liberty and the evils of government. We don’t write about the news of the day or offer commentary found elsewhere. A good example is our analysis of K-12 education, like that provided herein; it simply cannot be found anywhere else.

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New Independent Analysis of K-12 Education

          The five principal findings revealed herein are from a recent Cato Institute study entitled Fixing the Bias in Current State K-12 Education Rankings. Most analyses of educational performance use aggregated data, which produce misleading results. Cato has disaggregated the demographics and the heterogeneity of achievement data and also measured the spending incorporating cost of living (“COL”) adjustments.

1. Florida ranks #1: Conventional rankings show southern states as educational wastelands and New England states superior. U.S. News ranks Florida #40 and Cato’s aggregated rank is #16; however, the disaggregated rank is #3, but with adjustments for COL, Florida is #1. Massachusetts, ranked #1 by U.S. News, falls all the way to #24.

2. Teacher to student ratio is meaningless: Contrary to prevailing mythology, the ratio of students to teachers has no bearing whatsoever on educational outcomes. A good teacher in a good school will succeed and a bad teacher in a bad school will fail regardless of the number of students in the class.

3. Spending and results are uncorrelated: More is not better when it comes to spending. This destroys the holy grail of the educational establishment. Florida is number one even though it ranks low in spending. Throwing more money at dysfunctional schools with bloated administrative staff is counterproductive.

4. Unionization is harmful: There is a powerful negative correlation between unions and student achievement. Teachers unions, pure and simple, poison student learning.

5. Some factors positively correlate with achievement: Charter school enrollment has a positive correlation, showing that competition from charters helps government schools. Also, ceteris paribus, the smaller the school, the better the educational outcome.

         Someone needs to show the Cato study to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is hellbent on wasting $1 billion on teacher pay, which is wrongheaded on multiple counts. Florida already is number one in the USA and its teachers are not underpaid. Please see our post of 9/8/19 about teacher pay on our website: Also, the Cato study shows zero benefit in educational outcomes from spending more money.

        None of these findings should come as a surprise – particularly those involving spending and teacher/student ratio. Government schools are a jobs program for adults; children are mere pawns to extort more funding. If you missed it, you really need to go to our website and read our December 1, 2019 post about Providence, RI schools.

On January 19th, we remind readers why we write this blog.

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