Public school spending in Mississippi increased by more than a billion dollars from 1996 to 2005. But test scores just released by the U.S. Department of Education show that science scores over that same period of time have not changed at all in Mississippi.
The National Assessment of Educational Progress, also known as the Nation's Report Card, shows that 60% of eight graders score at what's called "below basic," meaning they don't have a basic knowledge of the science concepts they ought to know at that grade level. In 1996 and 2000, when these tests were given, the "below basic' percentage was also 60%.
Math scores, which were released earlier, were much more encouraging, showing dramatic improvements in fourth and eighth graders since that test began in 1992. Reading scores for eighth graders have declined significantly, and more than half of fourth graders are reading "below basic."
We spent a billion dollars more in 2005 than in 1996. It's reasonable to ask, "Was it worth it?"
7:07 PM 7/5/2006