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Pro-Common Core group: New York not getting its money's worth in education

A new report by the pro-Common Core group High Achievement New York contrasts the state’s high per-pupil spending with its middling results on national math and reading tests to conclude that the state gets a “poor return on its education investment.”

The analysis uses previously available data on education spending and national reading and math tests to support the organization’s call for continued use of the new learning standards and statewide assessments.

New York’s $19,552 per-pupil spending is more than any other state, according to U.S. Census data. Yet student scores on the National Assessment of Education Progress rank New York as only 31 out of 52 in the nation for eighth-grade reading, the High Achievement report notes.

“Investment in education is important, but it’s only part of the equation,” the High Achievement report states. “New York will only be able to join the ranks of competing states by matching its high spending with high education standards, monitoring the success of every student through higher-quality statewide assessments, and supporting students and educators to achieve those higher standards.”

The group’s analysis comes amid a growing outcry among teachers and parents over the use of statewide standardized test aligned to the Common Core standards to measure the effectiveness of teachers and schools. Last week, an estimated 175,000 students refused to take the state English Language Arts test in protest.

High Achievement jumped in on the testing debate last week with a radio and digital advertising campaign urging students to "opt in."

While High Achievement cites the state’s high per-pupil spending, school administrators, teachers and parents have raised concern in recent years that New York has pulled back on providing state aid to school districts since the recent recession and the state’s 2010 budget crisis.

Members of High Achievement, however, believe school standards are key to improving public education, rather than more spending. They note that New York has spent the most per student of any state since 2005.

“We need to encourage higher standards to ensure that our workforce has the skills necessary to compete in the modern economy,” Heather C. Briccetti, president and CEO of the Business Council of New York State, said in a written statement released with High Achievement’s report. “Studies have shown that we cannot simply throw money at the problem. We need buy-in from students, teachers, administrators, government, and business if we’re going to solve the skills gap and improve results.”

The report relies on previously available data collected by the U.S. Census on state education spending, as well as state results on the National Assessment of Education Progress.

High Achievement, which launched a campaign to support the Common Core State Standards last year, is a statewide coalition supported by business organizations and other groups across the state. Its members in the Buffalo region include Buffalo ReformEd, the Buffalo Niagara Partnership and the Buffalo Urban League.

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