Wyoming Liberty Group
Wyoming K-12 Achieving Excellence?
A number of our legislators claim we cannot cut education spending because we don’t want to settle for mediocrity. Please see the graph below of 2016 ACT® results for states where 100 percent of 11th graders take the test (100% ACT states). From it, a disinterested observer could easily conclude that mediocrity is precisely what Wyoming has achieved.
Our kids ranked 10th out of 18 states: dead middle of the pack with an average composite score of 20.0. The best state, Minnesota, scored 21.1 while the worst state, Nevada, notched a 17.7. Wyoming was beaten by all of its neighbors in the group: Colorado, Montana, North Dakota and Utah. You can view these figures on ACT’s website at http://www.act.org/content/dam/act/unsecured/documents/CCCR_National_2016.pdf.
That is bad enough, but there’s more! Spending figures released recently by the Census Bureau show in 2016 Wyoming spent more, far more, in total per student than any of the other 100% ACT states. See the graph below. The data are available at https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=SSF_2015_00A08&prodType=table.
This is well known and is simply a continuation of the long trend of Wyoming’s spending splurge. Note the margin by which Wyoming outspends all of the 100% ACT states. We even spend more per student than does the corrupt, heavily unionized state of Illinois. Keep in mind the figures have not been adjusted for relative cost of living. If they were, Wyoming would look even worse.
What’s more interesting is to take the annual amount spent per pupil and divide it by the average composite ACT score. Wyoming does excel - in how little it achieves in ACT scores in return for K-12 spending.
Wyoming 11th graders aren’t any worse than those in other states, are they? If not, it’s our system which, in spite of its shocking cost, isn’t getting results. School administrators and other education specialists assured us at the recent “education practitioner” meetings held around Wyoming they excel in educating the “whole child”, whatever that means. We think their statement strains belief because they cannot get kids to excel even in narrowly focused, clearly defined subjects against well-known benchmarks.
Seriously, folks, more spending is not the answer. Enacting more taxes so we can continue wasteful spending would not only be dangerous, it would be foolish. Contact your legislators now and demand accountability and change. Go to the Legislative Service Office’s site at http://legisweb.state.wy.us/PostComments/Disclaimer.aspx?CommID=SSR and enter your comments.