When comparing Kansas educationally to other states, it’s still doing pretty well according to the 2019 Comparing Kansas report from the Kansas Association of School Boards.
“Our average ranking would be 9th of the 50 states,” said KASB Vice President for Advocacy, Mark Tallman. “This is the same position we were with information we had last year. Two years before that, we ranked 10th. We had some earlier estimates where we were a little bit higher, but we’ve also changed how we’ve done the ranking a little bit.”
For all four years under this criteria, all other states in the top 10 provided more total per pupil funding in both actual dollars and adjusted for regional cost of living differences. With that said, the additional funding brought forth by the legislature over the last couple of years isn’t in the numbers, yet.
“It will often take at least a few years to have an impact,” said Tallman. “A good example of this we often point out is putting money into early childhood programs, which has been shown pretty consistently to have a positive impact, but when you have measurements based on things like state and national tests, which usually don’t start until 3rd and 4th grade, it takes awhile for that to happen.”
Kansas has higher student outcomes than the average of all 50 states on each of the 15 indicators.
“It doesn’t have even the first year of new funding after the Gannon lawsuit registering yet,” said Tallman. “To some extent, this is showing where we were a couple years ago. Still doing pretty well, that’s the positive news. Our hope is that we can continue to move up with the additional investments that have been made.”
Sixteen other states with lower performance rankings than Kansas spend more per pupil when adjusted for regional cost differences.