Oklahoma per-pupil funding comparison omits important data

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Published: May 18, 2012
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A recent rally sponsored in part by the group “49th is Not OK” urged state officials to increase school funding. While that's a legitimate cause, one argument advanced for it misleads through omission.

The “49th is Not OK” label apparently refers to Oklahoma's per-pupil funding rank in the Children's Defense Funds' annual Children in the States Fact Sheets. The CDF lists Oklahoma's per-pupil expenditure at $7,878, or 49th in the nation. However, that $7,878 in Oklahoma City is comparable to $14,162 in San Francisco and $19,046 in New York City, according to a cost-of-living calculator at CNN Money's website.

The CDF pegs per-pupil funding in California at $9,503 (ranked 34th) and in New York at $17,746 (second-highest among all states). Taken out of context, both states appear to be putting far more money into public schools than Oklahoma. But when you adjust for regional cost differences, the average student in Oklahoma City appears to fare better than counterparts in New York City and San Francisco.

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by The Oklahoman Editorial Board
The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Gary Pierson, President and CEO of The Oklahoma Publishing Company; Christopher P. Reen, president and publisher of The Oklahoman; Kelly Dyer Fry, editor and vice president of news; Christy Gaylord...
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