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States with the highest and lowest education spending

  •  States with the highest and lowest education spending
    1/ Miune // Shutterstock

    States with the highest and lowest education spending

    Education spending among developed nations is increasing. However, the United States is not following this trend. From 2010 to 2014 the country decreased its education spending by 3%, despite student population growth during the same time period. As a result, every U.S. student is receiving an average of 4% less in funding. Overall, the United States spends $11,762 per pupil, with 60.9% going toward instruction and 34.9% going toward pupil support.

    While education spending is declining countrywide, it is not a clear representation of spending trends across all 50 states. Using data from the 2016 U.S. Census, Stacker compiled a list of states spending the most and the least on education. The information is based on public education expenditures per pupil, which consists of funds going toward school-related salaries, benefits, purchased services, tuition, and supplies.

    Click through the slideshow to discover which states spend the least and most on education.

    ALSO: Highest paying metros for elementary school teachers

  • #50. Utah
    2/ King.... // Flickr

    #50. Utah

    Current expenditures per pupil: $6,953 (40.9% below national average)
    Instruction spending: 64.2% (#4 highest rate among all states)
    Student support spending: 30.2% (#47 highest rate among all states)

    Funding sources
    —Federal funding: 8% (#27 highest rate among all states)
    —State funding: 51.2% (#24 highest rate among all states)
    —Local funding: 40.8% (#25 highest rate among all states)

    Utah has the lowest K-12 education spending of all the states, 40.9% below the national average. Despite this, Utah's public high school graduation rate is 85.2%, slightly above the U.S. average of 84.1%.

  • #49. Idaho
    3/ Idaho National Laboratory // Flickr

    #49. Idaho

    Current expenditures per pupil: $7,157 (39.2% below national average)
    Instruction spending: 59.6% (#24 highest rate among all states)
    Student support spending: 35% (#32 highest rate among all states)

    Funding sources
    —Federal funding: 10.6% (#15 highest rate among all states)
    —State funding: 64.2% (#8 highest rate among all states)
    —Local funding: 25.2% (#45 highest rate among all states)

    With 59.6% of its small education budget spent on instruction, Idaho struggles with teacher retention. Annually, 10% of teachers must be replaced, costing the state $6.8 million a year. In 2017, 80% of teachers who left their schools were not doing so to retire. Rather, they left for graduate school or for a different position.

  • #48. Arizona
    4/ JulieTFarbarik // Wikimedia Commons

    #48. Arizona

    Current expenditures per pupil: $7,613 (35.3% below national average)
    Instruction spending: 53.6% (#50 highest rate among all states)
    Student support spending: 40.8% (#2 highest rate among all states)

    Funding sources
    —Federal funding: 13.8% (#2 highest rate among all states)
    —State funding: 40.8% (#36 highest rate among all states)
    —Local funding: 45.4% (#21 highest rate among all states)

    From 2008 to 2015, Arizona cut per-pupil education funding by 36.6%, more than any other state in the country in that time frame. Currently, the state spends more than $4,000 less per student than the national average.

  • #47. Oklahoma
    5/ Toby M. Valadie // LA National Guard

    #47. Oklahoma

    Current expenditures per pupil: $8,097 (31.2% below national average)
    Instruction spending: 55.9% (#46 highest rate among all states)
    Student support spending: 36.9% (#20 highest rate among all states)

    Funding sources
    —Federal funding: 11.3% (#11 highest rate among all states)
    —State funding: 47.7% (#26 highest rate among all states)
    —Local funding: 41% (#24 highest rate among all states)

    Oklahoma teachers receive an average salary of $42,460, the lowest in the United States. In 2018, Oklahoma teachers held a nine-day strike to protest their wages as well as poor school funding.

  • #46. Mississippi
    6/ Tim Burkitt // Wikimedia Commons

    #46. Mississippi

    Current expenditures per pupil: $8,702 (26% below national average)
    Instruction spending: 56.9% (#41 highest rate among all states)
    Student support spending: 36.7% (#21 highest rate among all states)

    Funding sources
    —Federal funding: 14.6% (#1 highest rate among all states)
    —State funding: 50.8% (#25 highest rate among all states)
    —Local funding: 34.6% (#34 highest rate among all states)

    Mississippi is spending 26% less on education than the national average and this adds up. A 2015 high school senior in Mississippi received $104,112 in funding throughout his or her public education while the average student in the United States received $137,467.

  • #45. North Carolina
    7/ Spotlight Solar // Wikimedia Commons

    #45. North Carolina

    Current expenditures per pupil: $8,792 (25.3% below national average)
    Instruction spending: 62.7% (#5 highest rate among all states)
    Student support spending: 31.9% (#46 highest rate among all states)

    Funding sources
    —Federal funding: 11.6% (#8 highest rate among all states)
    —State funding: 61.6% (#12 highest rate among all states)
    —Local funding: 26.8% (#44 highest rate among all states)

    Not only is there a 25.3% gap between North Carolina's education spending and that of the national average, there is another gap between spending in North Carolina's poorer wealthier counties. In 2015, the highest-spending county spent 12 times as much per student than the lowest-spending.

  • #44. Tennessee
    8/ cherylt23 // pixabay

    #44. Tennessee

    Current expenditures per pupil: $8,810 (25.1% below national average)
    Instruction spending: 61.4% (#12 highest rate among all states)
    Student support spending: 33.1% (#42 highest rate among all states)

    Funding sources
    —Federal funding: 11.5% (#9 highest rate among all states)
    —State funding: 46% (#29 highest rate among all states)
    —Local funding: 42.6% (#23 highest rate among all states)

    The debacle over state education spending in Tennessee is headed to court. Two of the largest school districts in Tennessee are suing the state, claiming it is not doing enough to provide an adequate education for its students, especially those living in urban areas. If the school districts win, Tennessee might be required to increase its education spending.

  • #43. Florida
    9/ PCHS-NJROTC // Wikimedia Commons

    #43. Florida

    Current expenditures per pupil: $8,920 (24.2% below national average)
    Instruction spending: 61.4% (#11 highest rate among all states)
    Student support spending: 33.5% (#40 highest rate among all states)

    Funding sources
    —Federal funding: 11.2% (#12 highest rate among all states)
    —State funding: 39% (#43 highest rate among all states)
    —Local funding: 49.8% (#16 highest rate among all states)

    Florida also faces litigation for its lack of education spending. A group of parents contend that the Florida Board of Education does not meet the constitutional requirement of providing a uniform and high-quality education. In its ninth year, Citizens for Strong Schools vs. Florida Board of Education is in the hands of the Florida Supreme Court.

  • #42. Nevada
    10/ Ekaterina Pokrovsky // Shutterstock

    #42. Nevada

    Current expenditures per pupil: $8,960 (23.8% below national average)
    Instruction spending: 57.8% (#37 highest rate among all states)
    Student support spending: 38% (#12 highest rate among all states)

    Funding sources
    —Federal funding: 9% (#20 highest rate among all states)
    —State funding: 62.9% (#9 highest rate among all states)
    —Local funding: 28.2% (#42 highest rate among all states)

    Since 2017, Nevada has had the largest classroom size. Some high school classes have as many as 50 students. Those working toward smaller classroom sizes think it's necessary to increase Nevada's state education funding, which provides 62.9% of their funding sources.

  • #41. Texas
    11/ Max Pixel

    #41. Texas

    Current expenditures per pupil: $9,016 (23.3% below national average)
    Instruction spending: 61.2% (#15 highest rate among all states)
    Student support spending: 33.3% (#41 highest rate among all states)

    Funding sources
    —Federal funding: 10.2% (#17 highest rate among all states)
    —State funding: 37.9% (#45 highest rate among all states)
    —Local funding: 51.9% (#14 highest rate among all states)

    Texas spends only $9,016 per student, 23.3% below the national average. Most students from highly rated Texas high schools do not score well enough on college entrance exams to earn exemptions from remedial coursework.

  • #40. South Dakota
    12/ USDA NRCS South Dakota // Flickr

    #40. South Dakota

    Current expenditures per pupil: $9,176 (22% below national average)
    Instruction spending: 58.4% (#31 highest rate among all states)
    Student support spending: 35.8% (#29 highest rate among all states)

    Funding sources
    —Federal funding: 13.5% (#3 highest rate among all states)
    —State funding: 30.2% (#50 highest rate among all states)
    —Local funding: 56.3% (#5 highest rate among all states)

    South Dakota's teacher union hopes that newly elected Gov. Kristi Noem will follow the previous governor's financial plan, which includes a 2.3% increase in education funding. In addition to low salaries for teachers, South Dakota's lower-than-average education spending means school counselor positions are often cut.

  • #39. Alabama
    13/ US Department of Education // Flickr

    #39. Alabama

    Current expenditures per pupil: $9,236 (21.5% below national average)
    Instruction spending: 56.9% (#40 highest rate among all states)
    Student support spending: 36% (#27 highest rate among all states)

    Funding sources
    —Federal funding: 10.6% (#14 highest rate among all states)
    —State funding: 54.7% (#20 highest rate among all states)
    —Local funding: 34.7% (#32 highest rate among all states)

    Alabama provides 54.7% of its total education funding, but the state government is working to increase that amount. Alabama's 2019 education budget will be raised to $6.63 billion, the largest it has been since 2008. The budget includes a 3% increase for K-12 schools and a 2.5% pay raise for K-12 education employees.

  • #38. Colorado
    14/ Henryk Sadura // Shutterstock

    #38. Colorado

    Current expenditures per pupil: $9,575 (18.6% below national average)
    Instruction spending: 56.6% (#43 highest rate among all states)
    Student support spending: 39.5% (#4 highest rate among all states)

    Funding sources
    —Federal funding: 7.1% (#35 highest rate among all states)
    —State funding: 43.4% (#32 highest rate among all states)
    —Local funding: 49.5% (#17 highest rate among all states)

    The fact that Colorado is spending only 56.6% of its education funding on instruction has not gone unnoticed. In the spring of 2018, teachers across Colorado held a strike to protest low education spending and issues with their pension program. In January 2019, Denver teachers threatened another strike if they cannot reach agreement with the school district on salaries.

  • #37. New Mexico
    15/ Ryan Utt // Wikimedia Commons

    #37. New Mexico

    Current expenditures per pupil: $9,693 (17.6% below national average)
    Instruction spending: 55.9% (#47 highest rate among all states)
    Student support spending: 39.1% (#7 highest rate among all states)

    Funding sources
    —Federal funding: 13.5% (#4 highest rate among all states)
    —State funding: 68.8% (#4 highest rate among all states)
    —Local funding: 17.7% (#47 highest rate among all states)

    New Mexico's education funding may currently be 17.6% below the national average, but newly elected Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham plans to overhaul the system. She has proposed increasing public education spending by about $500 million, with funds going to teachers' salaries, as well as the education of low-income and minority students.

  • #36. Georgia
    16/ Thomson200 // Wikimedia Commons

    #36. Georgia

    Current expenditures per pupil: $9,769 (16.9% below national average)
    Instruction spending: 61.2% (#14 highest rate among all states)
    Student support spending: 32.9% (#44 highest rate among all states)

    Funding sources
    —Federal funding: 9.3% (#18 highest rate among all states)
    —State funding: 45.2% (#30 highest rate among all states)
    —Local funding: 45.5% (#20 highest rate among all states)

    Before leaving office in January 2019, Gov. Nathan Deal signed a bill to fully pay for Georgia's school funding formula. This means that in fiscal year 2019–2020, which begins July 1, K-12 schools will receive $9.9 billion and Georgia's per-pupil spending, currently 16.9% below the U.S. average, will increase.

  • #35. Arkansas
    17/ Brandonrush // Wikimedia Commons

    #35. Arkansas

    Current expenditures per pupil: $9,846 (16.3% below national average)
    Instruction spending: 56.3% (#44 highest rate among all states)
    Student support spending: 38.2% (#10 highest rate among all states)

    Funding sources
    —Federal funding: 11% (#13 highest rate among all states)
    —State funding: 76.6% (#3 highest rate among all states)
    —Local funding: 12.4% (#48 highest rate among all states)

    Arkansas is below average for education funding, as well as performance—fourth- and eighth- grade students do not meet the national average scores for both math and reading proficiency. In 2019, Arkansas lawmakers are set to vote on whether to increase per-pupil spending by 1.5%, the largest increase since 2014.

  • #34. Indiana
    18/ johngirton.me // Flickr

    #34. Indiana

    Current expenditures per pupil: $9,856 (16.2% below national average)
    Instruction spending: 57.9% (#35 highest rate among all states)
    Student support spending: 37.1% (#19 highest rate among all states)

    Funding sources
    —Federal funding: 7.6% (#29 highest rate among all states)
    —State funding: 62.2% (#10 highest rate among all states)
    —Local funding: 30.2% (#40 highest rate among all states)

    Not only is Indiana's education spending 16.2% below the U.S. average, its public school funding is below what it was before the Great Recession. The Indiana branch of the American Federation of Teachers suggested that lawmakers should limit state vouchers to prevent money being funneled away from public schools.

  • #33. Kentucky
    19/ meddygarnet // Flickr

    #33. Kentucky

    Current expenditures per pupil: $9,863 (16.1% below national average)
    Instruction spending: 57.9% (#36 highest rate among all states)
    Student support spending: 35.8% (#30 highest rate among all states)

    Funding sources
    —Federal funding: 11.4% (#10 highest rate among all states)
    —State funding: 55.1% (#19 highest rate among all states)
    —Local funding: 33.5% (#36 highest rate among all states)

    Since 2008, Kentucky's per-pupil spending has decreased by 16%. In efforts to correct this, Kentucky lawmakers passed a state budget in 2018 that would increase public education spending as the result of $480 million in tax increases.

  • #32. Kansas
    20/ US Department of Education // flickr

    #32. Kansas

    Current expenditures per pupil: $9,960 (15.3% below national average)
    Instruction spending: 60.9% (#18 highest rate among all states)
    Student support spending: 34.1% (#39 highest rate among all states)

    Funding sources
    —Federal funding: 7.5% (#30 highest rate among all states)
    —State funding: 65.1% (#6 highest rate among all states)
    —Local funding: 27.4% (#43 highest rate among all states)

    The case Gannon vs. Kansas began in 2010 when a group of school districts sued Kansas over its low amount of education funding. In 2018, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that the state was not adequately meeting education requirements and urged lawmakers to increase funding to offset inflation.

  • #31. South Carolina
    21/ Joe Hendrickson // Shutterstock

    #31. South Carolina

    Current expenditures per pupil: $10,249 (12.9% below national average)
    Instruction spending: 54.9% (#48 highest rate among all states)
    Student support spending: 39.6% (#3 highest rate among all states)

    Funding sources
    —Federal funding: 9.2% (#19 highest rate among all states)
    —State funding: 46.6% (#28 highest rate among all states)
    —Local funding: 44.2% (#22 highest rate among all states)

    South Carolina spends $10,249 per student on education, $1,513 less than the U.S. average. Among the results? Only 1 in 4 South Carolina eighth-graders is proficient in math.

  • #30. Missouri
    22/ Paul Sableman // Wikimedia Commons

    #30. Missouri

    Current expenditures per pupil: $10,313 (12.3% below national average)
    Instruction spending: 59.7% (#22 highest rate among all states)
    Student support spending: 35.9% (#28 highest rate among all states)

    Funding sources
    —Federal funding: 8.6% (#24 highest rate among all states)
    —State funding: 42.3% (#33 highest rate among all states)
    —Local funding: 49.2% (#18 highest rate among all states)

    In April 2018, the Missouri Senate voted against fully funding schools, adding only $48 million to the previous year's budget. Since these extra funds will go to early childhood programs, per-pupil spending will remain the same, leaving Missouri below the national average.

  • #29. Oregon
    23/ Monkey Business Images // Shutterstock

    #29. Oregon

    Current expenditures per pupil: $10,842 (7.8% below national average)
    Instruction spending: 58.4% (#32 highest rate among all states)
    Student support spending: 38% (#14 highest rate among all states)

    Funding sources
    —Federal funding: 7.9% (#28 highest rate among all states)
    —State funding: 52.4% (#23 highest rate among all states)
    —Local funding: 39.7% (#28 highest rate among all states)

    Coming in 7.8% below the national average for per-pupil spending, Oregon received a C- rating for overall education spending from the National Education Association. However, the association awarded the state an F for public school financing, which has led to staffing cuts and overcrowded classrooms.

  • #28. Louisiana
    24/ Toby M. Valadie // LA National Guard

    #28. Louisiana

    Current expenditures per pupil: $11,038 (6.2% below national average)
    Instruction spending: 56.2% (#45 highest rate among all states)
    Student support spending: 38.2% (#9 highest rate among all states)

    Funding sources
    —Federal funding: 12.2% (#7 highest rate among all states)
    —State funding: 41.5% (#34 highest rate among all states)
    —Local funding: 46.3% (#19 highest rate among all states)

    Though only spending $724 less per student than the national average, Louisiana ranked second-worst by U.S. News & World Report. The data used to determine the rankings included teacher-to-student ratio, standardized test scores, and graduation rates.

  • #27. Iowa
    25/ Phil Roeder // Flickr

    #27. Iowa

    Current expenditures per pupil: $11,150 (5.2% below national average)
    Instruction spending: 60.9% (#19 highest rate among all states)
    Student support spending: 34.9% (#34 highest rate among all states)

    Funding sources
    —Federal funding: 7% (#36 highest rate among all states)
    —State funding: 53.9% (#21 highest rate among all states)
    —Local funding: 39.1% (#29 highest rate among all states)

    Iowa comes close to the national average for per-pupil education spending, but beats the national graduation rate of 84%. In 2017, an impressive 91% of Iowa high school seniors graduated.

  • #26. West Virginia
    26/ Tabletpc2 // Wikimedia Commons

    #26. West Virginia

    Current expenditures per pupil: $11,291 (4% below national average)
    Instruction spending: 57.6% (#38 highest rate among all states)
    Student support spending: 36.1% (#25 highest rate among all states)

    Funding sources
    Federal funding: 10.6% (#16 highest rate among all states)
    State funding: 55.2% (#18 highest rate among all states)
    Local funding: 34.2% (#35 highest rate among all states)

    With a per-pupil spending that's $470 less than the national average, West Virginia ranked 45th on U.S. News & World Report's list of state education systems. In 2018 just 37% of West Virginia public school students tested as at least “proficient“ in math.

  • #25. Montana
    27/ Henryk Sadura // Shutterstock

    #25. Montana

    Current expenditures per pupil: $11,348 (3.5% below national average)
    Instruction spending: 59.1% (#26 highest rate among all states)
    Student support spending: 36.4% (#23 highest rate among all states)

    Funding sources
    —Federal funding: 12.4% (#5 highest rate among all states)
    —State funding: 47.3% (#27 highest rate among all states)
    —Local funding: 40.3% (#26 highest rate among all states)

    Montana hit a record high during the 2017–2018 school year, with a graduation rate of 86.4%. This was a major improvement from the 2016 graduation rate of 63%, despite the fact that Montana's per-pupil spending falls 3.5% below the national average.

  • #24. Virginia
    28/ Virginia Department of Education // Flickr

    #24. Virginia

    Current expenditures per pupil: $11,432 (2.8% below national average)
    Instruction spending: 60.9% (#16 highest rate among all states)
    Student support spending: 35.2% (#31 highest rate among all states)

    Funding sources
    —Federal funding: 6.6% (#40 highest rate among all states)
    —State funding: 39.4% (#41 highest rate among all states)
    —Local funding: 54% (#10 highest rate among all states)

    Though 60.9% of Virginia's education budget is spent on instruction, teachers in Virginia have had an 8.08% decrease in salary over the past 10 years. Gov. Ralph Northam hopes to address this with his 2019 budget, which includes a 3% raise for teachers.

  • #23. Wisconsin
    29/ Henryk Sadura // Shutterstock

    #23. Wisconsin

    Current expenditures per pupil: $11,456 (2.6% below national average)
    Instruction spending: 58.5% (#29 highest rate among all states)
    Student support spending: 37.6% (#17 highest rate among all states)

    Funding sources
    —Federal funding: 6.9% (#37 highest rate among all states)
    —State funding: 52.9% (#22 highest rate among all states)
    —Local funding: 40.2% (#27 highest rate among all states)

    Wisconsin's education spending falls close to the national average. One place where the state stands out is its SAT scores: Wisconsin high schoolers have the second-lowest scores in the country.

  • #22. California
    30/ Supannee_Hickman // Shutterstock

    #22. California

    Current expenditures per pupil: $11,495 (2.3% below national average)
    Instruction spending: 59.6% (#23 highest rate among all states)
    Student support spending: 36.5% (#22 highest rate among all states)

    Funding sources
    —Federal funding: 8.9% (#21 highest rate among all states)
    —State funding: 58.8% (#13 highest rate among all states)
    —Local funding: 32.3% (#38 highest rate among all states)

    Though falling into the middle of the pack in terms of spending, WalletHub ranked California 38th for education quality. Ranking factors included test scores, graduation rates, and percent of students who take the SAT or ACT.

  • #21. Washington
    31/ USACE HQ // Flickr

    #21. Washington

    Current expenditures per pupil: $11,534 (1.9% below national average)
    Instruction spending: 56.7% (#42 highest rate among all states)
    Student support spending: 39.2% (#6 highest rate among all states)

    Funding sources
    —Federal funding: 7.4% (#31 highest rate among all states)
    —State funding: 62% (#11 highest rate among all states)
    —Local funding: 30.6% (#39 highest rate among all states)

    One major concern in the Washington education system is the quality of support provided for disabled students. Only 21.8% of disabled high school students go on to college, one of the lowest rates in the country.

  • #20. Michigan
    32/ Thomas Barrat // Shutterstock

    #20. Michigan

    Current expenditures per pupil: $11,668 (0.8% below national average)
    Instruction spending: 58.5% (#28 highest rate among all states)
    Student support spending: 37.8% (#15 highest rate among all states)

    Funding sources
    —Federal funding: 8.4% (#25 highest rate among all states)
    —State funding: 58.1% (#15 highest rate among all states)
    —Local funding: 33.5% (#37 highest rate among all states)

    Though Michigan comes closest to the national average in terms of education spending, it ranked 36th in fourth-grade reading proficiency. Michigan students also fall below average when it comes to high school graduation rates, college enrollment, and standardized test scores.

  • #19. Ohio
    33/ kasharimitchell // Pixabay

    #19. Ohio

    Current expenditures per pupil: $12,102 (2.9% above national average)
    Instruction spending: 58.4% (#30 highest rate among all states)
    Student support spending: 38.1% (#11 highest rate among all states)

    Funding sources
    —Federal funding: 7.3% (#33 highest rate among all states)
    —State funding: 40.5% (#37 highest rate among all states)
    —Local funding: 52.1% (#13 highest rate among all states)

    Ohio barely beats the education spending national average, spending $340 more per pupil. The State Board of Education recently released a five-year strategic education plan called Each Child, Our Future, with the ultimate goal of increasing the percentage of high school graduates who go on to careers or higher education.

  • #18. Nebraska
    34/ Jared Winkler // Wikimedia Commons

    #18. Nebraska

    Current expenditures per pupil: $12,299 (4.6% above national average)
    Instruction spending: 65.1% (#3 highest rate among all states)
    Student support spending: 29.6% (#49 highest rate among all states)

    Funding sources
    —Federal funding: 8% (#26 highest rate among all states)
    —State funding: 33.3% (#48 highest rate among all states)
    —Local funding: 58.7% (#2 highest rate among all states)

    While Nebraska spends more than the national average on education, the state has seen decreasing performance levels across its schools over the past few years. Using its own classification system, the state found that 14% of schools need improvement.

  • #17. Minnesota
    35/ U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Midwest Region // Flickr

    #17. Minnesota

    Current expenditures per pupil: $12,382 (5.3% above national average)
    Instruction spending: 65.2% (#2 highest rate among all states)
    Student support spending: 30% (#48 highest rate among all states)

    Funding sources
    —Federal funding: 5.3% (#46 highest rate among all states)
    —State funding: 65.5% (#5 highest rate among all states)
    —Local funding: 29.2% (#41 highest rate among all states)

    Minnesota faces one of the largest academic achievement gaps in the country. Minority students and those from low-income backgrounds fall far behind their white, wealthier peers in math and reading achievements.

  • #16. Maine
    36/ MaineDOE // Flickr

    #16. Maine

    Current expenditures per pupil: $13,278 (12.9% above national average)
    Instruction spending: 57.1% (#39 highest rate among all states)
    Student support spending: 39.3% (#5 highest rate among all states)

    Funding sources
    —Federal funding: 6.7% (#39 highest rate among all states)
    —State funding: 38.8% (#44 highest rate among all states)
    —Local funding: 54.5% (#9 highest rate among all states)

    Maine's education system has seen marked improvements over the past decade in a few key areas, including increased attendance of public pre-K and an increased percentage of college graduates. But the same improvements have not been seen for students from low-income backgrounds.

  • #15. North Dakota
    37/ US Department of Education // Flickr

    #15. North Dakota

    Current expenditures per pupil: $13,373 (13.7% above national average)
    Instruction spending: 59.9% (#21 highest rate among all states)
    Student support spending: 32.8% (#45 highest rate among all states)

    Funding sources
    —Federal funding: 8.9% (#22 highest rate among all states)
    —State funding: 56.3% (#17 highest rate among all states)
    —Local funding: 34.8% (#31 highest rate among all states)

    In North Dakota, a gap remains between Native American students, whose graduation rate is 67.3%, and their white peers, whose graduation rate is close to 90%. Correcting this divide is one goal of the Department of Public Instruction in North Dakota, which has a per-pupil expenditure 13.7% above the national average.

  • #14. Hawaii
    38/ InSapphoWeTrust // Flickr

    #14. Hawaii

    Current expenditures per pupil: $13,748 (16.9% above national average)
    Instruction spending: 58.7% (#27 highest rate among all states)
    Student support spending: 36% (#26 highest rate among all states)

    Funding sources
    —Federal funding: 8.6% (#23 highest rate among all states)
    —State funding: 89.4% (#2 highest rate among all states)
    —Local funding: 1.9% (#50 highest rate among all states)

    Even though Hawaii spends 58.7% of its education funding on instruction, WalletHub ranked it the worst state for teachers. The report found that when taking the cost of living into consideration the starting salary for teachers in Hawaii is just $24,409. That is over $5,000 less than the national average.

  • #13. Illinois
    39/ Thomas Barrat // Shutterstock

    #13. Illinois

    Current expenditures per pupil: $14,180 (20.6% above national average)
    Instruction spending: 60.9% (#17 highest rate among all states)
    Student support spending: 36.2% (#24 highest rate among all states)

    Funding sources
    —Federal funding: 7.2% (#34 highest rate among all states)
    —State funding: 37.5% (#47 highest rate among all states)
    —Local funding: 55.3% (#8 highest rate among all states)

    Illinois students are not as well prepared for college as those in many other states, despite the fact that the states spends more per student than most states. The ACT scores of Illinois students fall below the U.S. average, both in total scores and across individual sections.

  • #12. Maryland
    40/ Virginia Department of Education // Flickr

    #12. Maryland

    Current expenditures per pupil: $14,206 (20.8% above national average)
    Instruction spending: 62.3% (#9 highest rate among all states)
    Student support spending: 34.7% (#37 highest rate among all states)

    Funding sources
    —Federal funding: 5.7% (#44 highest rate among all states)
    —State funding: 44% (#31 highest rate among all states)
    —Local funding: 50.3% (#15 highest rate among all states)

    It may be true that Maryland spends more per pupil than the national average, but spending is not equitable across the state. Students in low-income school districts receive 4.9% less money than their cohorts in wealthier districts.

  • #11. Delaware
    41/ US Department of Education // Flickr

    #11. Delaware

    Current expenditures per pupil: $14,713 (25.1% above national average)
    Instruction spending: 62.5% (#7 highest rate among all states)
    Student support spending: 33% (#43 highest rate among all states)

    Funding sources
    —Federal funding: 6.7% (#38 highest rate among all states)
    —State funding: 58.6% (#14 highest rate among all states)
    —Local funding: 34.7% (#33 highest rate among all states)

    Delaware state testing revealed that as many as 89% of its low-income students, students learning English as a second language, and students with disabilities fell below state standards for math and English. This may come as a surprise considering that Delaware spends 25.1% more per student than the U.S. average.

  • #10. New Hampshire
    42/ Chip Griffin // Flickr

    #10. New Hampshire

    Current expenditures per pupil: $15,340 (30.4% above national average)
    Instruction spending: 62.6% (#6 highest rate among all states)
    Student support spending: 34.8% (#36 highest rate among all states)

    Funding sources
    —Federal funding: 5.5% (#45 highest rate among all states)
    —State funding: 32.9% (#49 highest rate among all states)
    —Local funding: 61.5% (#1 highest rate among all states)

    New Hampshire eighth-graders have the second-best scores in math and reading of all 50 states, perhaps due to the state's higher-than-average education spending. Yet, the gap between white students and students from minority and low-income backgrounds has not improved, and in some cases worsened, since 2003.

  • #9. Pennsylvania
    43/ Montgomery County Planning Commission // Flickr

    #9. Pennsylvania

    Current expenditures per pupil: $15,418 (31.1% above national average)
    Instruction spending: 61.3% (#13 highest rate among all states)
    Student support spending: 34.9% (#35 highest rate among all states)

    Funding sources
    —Federal funding: 6.4% (#41 highest rate among all states)
    —State funding: 37.7% (#46 highest rate among all states)
    —Local funding: 55.9% (#6 highest rate among all states)

    Because state funding makes up only 37.7% of Pennsylvania's total education funding, local property taxes are often increased to make up the difference. The lack of state funding has led to layoffs, including more than 400 within the Allentown School District alone since 2010.

  • #8. Rhode Island
    44/ John Phelan // Wikimedia Commons

    #8. Rhode Island

    Current expenditures per pupil: $15,532 (32.1% above national average)
    Instruction spending: 58.2% (#34 highest rate among all states)
    Student support spending: 39.0% (#8 highest rate among all states)

    Funding sources
    —Federal funding: 7.4% (#32 highest rate among all states)
    —State funding: 39.6% (#39 highest rate among all states)
    —Local funding: 53% (#12 highest rate among all states)

    Rhode Island recently released a new school-rating system and the results showed that, despite a relatively high level of per-pupil spending, certain students are being overlooked. For example, urban schools have high rates of absenteeism.

  • #7. Massachusetts
    45/ CL-Medien // Shutterstock

    #7. Massachusetts

    Current expenditures per pupil: $15,593 (32.6% above national average)
    Instruction spending: 62.3% (#8 highest rate among all states)
    Student support spending: 34.6% (#38 highest rate among all states)

    Funding sources
    —Federal funding: 4.4% (#48 highest rate among all states)
    —State funding: 39% (#42 highest rate among all states)
    —Local funding: 56.5% (#3 highest rate among all states)

    WalletHub named Massachusetts as the state with the best public schools, both in quality and safety. The state earned the top spot based on its students' high test scores, as well as the low incidence of bullying. Not surprisingly, Massachusetts spends 32.6% more per student than the U.S. average.

  • #6. Wyoming
    46/ mypubliclands // Flickr

    #6. Wyoming

    Current expenditures per pupil: $16,442 (39.8% above national average)
    Instruction spending: 59.3% (#25 highest rate among all states)
    Student support spending: 37.7% (#16 highest rate among all states)

    Funding sources
    —Federal funding: 6% (#43 highest rate among all states)
    —State funding: 57.6% (#16 highest rate among all states)
    —Local funding: 36.4% (#30 highest rate among all states)

    A lawsuit is one reason Wyoming spends nearly $5,000 more per student than the U.S. average. In 1980, the Wyoming Supreme Court ruled that the state must fund every school equitably and adequately.

  • #5. Alaska
    47/ Gillfoto // Wikimedia Commons

    #5. Alaska

    Current expenditures per pupil: $17,510 (48.9% above national average)
    Instruction spending: 54% (#49 highest rate among all states)
    Student support spending: 42.4% (#1 highest rate among all states)

    Funding sources
    —Federal funding: 12.3% (#6 highest rate among all states)
    —State funding: 64.7% (#7 highest rate among all states)
    —Local funding: 23% (#46 highest rate among all states)

    Even though Alaska spends 48.9% above the national average on education and puts the highest percent of funding into student support, student test scores are falling. In fact, Alaska's fourth-graders scored the worst of all states on reading tests in 2017.

  • #4. Vermont
    48/ Sterling College // Flickr

    #4. Vermont

    Current expenditures per pupil: $17,873 (52% above national average)
    Instruction spending: 60% (#20 highest rate among all states)
    Student support spending: 37.1% (#18 highest rate among all states)

    Funding sources
    —Federal funding: 6.3% (#42 highest rate among all states)
    —State funding: 90.2% (#1 highest rate among all states)
    —Local funding: 3.5% (#49 highest rate among all states)

    School enrollment in Vermont has been declining since the 1970s and from 2006 to 2016 enrollment decreased by 10,000. School costs actually increased during that timeframe, leading to Vermont spending 52% above the national average for education.

  • #3. New Jersey
    49/ Virginia Department of Education // Flickr

    #3. New Jersey

    Current expenditures per pupil: $18,402 (56.5% above national average)
    Instruction spending: 58.2% (#33 highest rate among all states)
    Student support spending: 38% (#13 highest rate among all states)

    Funding sources
    —Federal funding: 4.1% (#50 highest rate among all states)
    —State funding: 40.4% (#38 highest rate among all states)
    —Local funding: 55.5% (#7 highest rate among all states)

    New Jersey regularly is ranked as having one of the best education systems in the United States. Recently, low dropout rates and student-to-teacher ratios helped earn the state the second-highest spot on WalletHub's ranking of state school systems.

  • #2. Connecticut
    50/ Noroton // Flickr

    #2. Connecticut

    Current expenditures per pupil: $18,958 (61.2% above national average)
    Instruction spending: 61.5% (#10 highest rate among all states)
    Student support spending: 34.9% (#33 highest rate among all states)

    Funding sources
    —Federal funding: 4.2% (#49 highest rate among all states)
    —State funding: 39.5% (#40 highest rate among all states)
    —Local funding: 56.3% (#4 highest rate among all states)

    In 2018, Connecticut's Supreme Court ruled that the state's school system was not unconstitutional. The case began 12 years earlier and focused on whether the state equally funded wealthier and poorer school districts. Although Connecticut spends over $7,000 more per student than the U.S. average, the Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding argued that those dollars went to certain students more than others, qualifying as discrimination.  

  • #1. New York
    51/ Tommy Larey // Shutterstock

    #1. New York

    Current expenditures per pupil: $22,366 (90.2% above national average)
    Instruction spending: 70.4% (#1 highest rate among all states)
    Student support spending: 27.4% (#50 highest rate among all states)

    Funding sources
    —Federal funding: 5.1% (#47 highest rate among all states)
    —State funding: 41.2% (#35 highest rate among all states)
    —Local funding: 53.8% (#11 highest rate among all states)

    Spending nearly twice as much per student as the national average, New York puts the highest amount of funding into education, as well as the highest percentage into instruction spending. Despite this, New York ranks second to last for school funding equity and has the most segregated school systems of any state.

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