States in Motion
Visualizing how education funding has changed over time
This project takes a historical look, through interactive charts for all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, at how the economic and social conditions have changed over time, and how those changes have affected states’ investment in education and student achievement. The focus is on how California has changed compared with other states.
Questions we sought to answer include:
How does California’s investment in public education compare with that of other states?
How has that investment changed over the decades?
What does spending look like when compared with datasets like a state’s per-capita personal income, proportion of students in poverty, and teacher salaries?
We are using data from federal and non-governmental sources:
Bureau of Economic Analysis
- State personal income
- Total number of full-time and part-time wage and salaried workers
- Wages and salaries by NAICS industry code
National Center for Education Statistics
- Common Core of Data, Current expense of instruction
- Students by state
National Education Association
- Average salaries of public school teachers
- Current expenditures for instruction, K-12 (2011-2013 only)
- Official poverty status of 5- to 17-year olds
Census/American Community Survey
- State population
National Assessment of Educational Progress
- Percent of students proficient in 4th and 8th grade math and reading
Note on K-12 expenditures: This data is collected and computed several ways. We chose to use the Common Core of Data, even though the information is several years old, because of our relative confidence in, and thoroughness of, the data over time. The National Education Association, which is often cited, bases most recent data on estimates that it subsequently adjusts.
States in Motion was conceived by Jeff Camp, who designed Ed100, which offers primers for parents on education in California. We also thank Jonathan Kaplan, senior policy analyst for the California Budget and Policy Center, for his advice on assembling the data.
We have provided code for each chart to allow for easy embedding on other websites, which you can find by clicking on Embed Chart. We welcome your suggestions on other topics and data to explore.