Spending up, student achievement down

Minnesota per pupil spending is now at $14,378, according to preliminary data for FY 2021 released by the U.S. Census Bureau. This continues at least a 10-year upward trend of per-pupil spending (adjusted for inflation).

Unfortunately, student academic achievement has not improved as a result. Massive learning setbacks are one piece of how school closures have impacted children. Such setbacks risk having long-term effects on our future leaders in all parts of society. It’s discouraging, frustrating, and saddening.

So where do we go from here? Not back to protecting the status quo. That has been leaving students behind for years. But that means policymakers and state leaders have to be willing to admit that the solution is not simply more monetary inputs. They also have to be wiling to learn from other states (yes, that includes Mississippi) that are narrowing achievement gaps and better positioning students for success.