School Ratings--from Standard & Poor's
Money is important, but what's even more important is spending money efficiently on education programs that prepare students for lives and jobs in the new economy, according to Standard & Poor's chief economist David A. Wyss.
"The important thing to keep in mind is that more education means more income for people and that educated populations can adjust to a changing economy better than poorly educated ones," he added, speaking to a national assembly of state lawmakers in Savannah, Georgia, on February 17.
Standard & Poor's is becoming increasingly interested in K-12 schools because it is pioneering a School Evaluation Service to provide administrators and policy makers with a diagnostic tool for better-informed decision-making. The service focuses on measuring the return on resources from an analysis of financial input and academic output, measured against a range of demographic and other data.
The essential components of S&P's school evaluation are:
- Student Results: What are the academic outcomes? e.g., test scores, attendance, and graduation rates.
- Learning Environment: What is the scholastic context of this return? e.g., class and school sizes, staffing levels, technology, safety.
- Expenditure: Where is the money spent?
- Return on Resources: What is the comparative return? e.g., are student outcomes improving as spending increases?
- Finances, Taxes, Debt: What is the financial context of this return?
- Demographics: What is the socioeconomic context of this return?
Michigan and Pennsylvania already have signed $10 million contracts to assess each of their hundreds of school districts annually for at least the next four years.
For more information . . .
Further details of Standard & Poor's School Evaluation Service are available from the S&P Web site at www.standardandpoors.com, or by calling toll-free 877/776-6512, or by sending an e-mail to SES@standardandpoors.com.