Education Spending in Washington


I was looking at the report on Revenues and Expenditure of Public Elementary and Secondary Education for the 2005-2006 school year. This is published by the National Center for Education Statistics. It is compilation of data by state. I took a look at how Washington stacked up and one first glance it is not too good.

In overall spending per student, Washington spent $7,984. The average for the 50 states and Washington DC was $9,337 with a median of $8,645 (that means half the states spent more than that and half spent less). Washington ranks 38th in overall spending per student.

In spending on instruction (money that goes directly to the classroom for teacher, books, classroom aides, etc), Washington spends $4,725 per pupil. The national average is $5,651 with a median of $5,304. In this category, Washington ranks 36th.

Finally, on the percentage of overall spending used for instruction, Washington spends 59.18% (4,725/7,984) of its education on instruction. The national average is 60.41% with a median of 60.19%. Washington is 35th in this.

Overall, not a very good picture of how much money is spent on education and how much of that money goes for instruction. I don’t post this to start another round of OSPI bashing, but to start a conversation about how other states pay for education, what Washington can do to increase spending, and what are ways we can get more dollars to the classroom level, where it can help educate the children of this state.

You can download the report at this link:


Charlie Mas said…
At a time when our state is questioning how to pay for education, I think it makes a lot of sense to look around and see how other states pay for education.

Surely there is some state somewhere that has found something better than relying exclusively on property taxes.

Surely there is some state somewhere that has found a path to equitable funding of urban and rural districts.
MathTeacher42 said…
I wonder what % per year went into creating and nurturing the math
fiasco* of the last 15 years?

How many dollars per year went to people not in the math classroom who
were working to adapt the 80 or 100 math curriculum(sp?) in the state
to Bergeson's proven failed standards?

How many dollars per year to people not in the math classroom pushing
the pedagogy of little or no practice, learning few basis algorithms,
groupwork, differentiated instruction, and discovery learning as the
answers to math failure for tens of thousands of our kids? (while
there are some good ideas in this pedagogy, it is most effective as
'blame the teachers')

* I'm defining over 35,000 failing per year for the last 2 years, out
of appx. 74,000 10th grade math WASL test takers, as 'math fiasco'.

Not Too Anon.
Jet City mom said…
I compared Washington to MA, OR& IND , using info from

IND because similar in size to WA, MA, because Seattle is often compared to Boston & OR because of proximity.

State revenues( per student) for the year 2005

From Federal( per student)

Local revenues ( per student)

How the money is spent is also quite interesting.

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