In response to the feedback received on “Educational Funding and Student Outcomes: The Relationship as Evidenced by State-Level Data,” the KASB Research Department is working on a “Part II” which will dig further into other factors that impact student outcomes, and how funding impacts when these other factors are taken into consideration.

In this series of blog posts, I will describe the preliminary correlation analysis comparing these factors (independent variables) with each other in an attempt to show how closely tied to each other they are.

### Today’s topic is Instruction as a Percent of Current Spending or Total Revenue

The US Census Bureau provides information on per student total revenue, current spending, and spending on instruction by state and year. Looking at spending on instruction as a percent of either current spending or total revenue is an attempt to parse out the amount of funding going directly towards classroom instruction and what is going to school, district, and state administration.

In terms of other independent variables, I will list the interactions in terms of the strength of the highest correlation between variables observed; Strong (+/- 1.0 to 0.5), Moderate (+/- 0.5 to 0.3), Weak (+/- .03 to 0.1), and None or Very Weak (+/- 0.1 to 0.0).

#### Strong

- There were no comparisons to school spending for which the strongest correlation was above 0.5.

#### Moderate

- There is a weak positive correlation between percent of white students and spending on instruction as a percent of current spending, and a moderate negative correlation between spending on instruction as a percent of current spending and percent of American Indian or Alaska native students, but no correlation between spending on instruction and percent of black or Hispanic students. There is a weak positive correlation between percent of white students and spending on instruction as a percent of total revenue, weak positive correlations between percent of Hispanic and American Indian or Alaska native students and spending on instruction as a percent of total revenue, and no correlation between the percent of black students and spending on instruction as a percent of total revenue. This suggests that states with higher percents of white students and lower percents of American Indian or Alaska native students allocate more funds to expenses classified as “instruction,” and when looking at total spending, states with higher percents of Hispanic students put more of their total funding amounts towards “instruction.”
- There is a moderate positive correlation to no correlation between instruction as a percent of current spending or total revenue and school spending in terms of dollars; indicating that states with higher per pupil spending also tend to put a higher percent of spending towards expenses categorized as “instruction.”
- There is a moderate negative correlation between poverty and spending on instruction as a percent of current spending per pupil; indicating that areas with higher poverty are putting a smaller percent of current spending towards instruction than those with lower poverty. There is no significant relationship between poverty and instruction as a percent of total revenue per pupil.

#### Weak

- There is a weak positive correlation between RPP and instruction as a percent of current spending; indicating that states with higher cost of living spend a greater percent of current spending on expenses categorized under “instruction.” There is no correlation between RPP and instruction as a percent of total revenue.
- There is a weak negative correlation between the percent taking the ACT and spending on instruction as a percent of current spending, and a weak positive correlation between the percent taking the SAT and spending on instruction as a percent of current spending; meaning students coming from states where more of the overall spending goes to expenses classified as “instruction” are less likely to take the ACT and more likely to take the SAT. There is no correlation between the percent of students taking the ACT and spending on instruction as a percent of total revenue, and a weak positive correlation between percent taking the SAT and spending on instruction as a percent of total revenue.
- There is no correlation between percent of students served under IDEA and spending on instruction as a percent of current spending, and a weak positive correlation between percent of students served under IDEA and spending on instruction as a percent of total spending; indicating states with higher percents of special education students put more of total spending towards instruction.
- There is a weak negative correlation between percent of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch and spending on instruction as a percent of current spending, and no correlation between percent of students eligible for free and reduced-price lunch and spending on instruction as a percent of total revenue; indicating that states with higher percents of at-risk students have lower percents of current spending going to expenses categorized as “instruction.”
- There is no correlation between ELL program participation and spending on instruction as a percent of current spending and a weak negative correlation between ELL program participation and spending on instruction as a percent of total revenue; suggesting states with higher percents of ELL students allocate smaller percents of spending towards expenses categorized as “instruction.”
- There is a weak negative correlation between student-teacher ratio and instruction spending as a percent of both current spending and total revenue; indicating that states with more students per teacher allocate less to expenses classified as “instruction.”
- There is a weak positive to no correlation between spending on instruction as a percent and educational attainment; suggesting that states putting more spending towards expenses categorized as “instruction” also tend to have a more educated population.
- There is a weak positive correlation between instruction as a percent of current spending and per capita or household income, and no correlation between instruction as a percent of total revenue and per capita or household income; indicating that states spending more on expenses categorized as “instruction” also have higher income levels.

#### None or Very Weak

- There is no correlation between period and percent spent on instruction.
- There is no correlation between teacher salaries and instruction as a percent of either current spending or total spending.
- There is no correlation between spending on instruction as a percent and population density.