Both advocates of more spending on education in California and those who argue that money doesn’t matter can find evidence to bolster their position from this chart. It compares spending per student (horizontal axis) with proficiency rates on National Assessment of Educational Program or NAEP.

High-spending Massachusetts scored highest on NAEP in 2015, but lower spending Colorado did as well as bigger spenders Maryland and Connecticut. And Utah, which spends far less, scores higher than New York. All of which suggests the need for a deeper dive for more information on student demographics and how resources within the states are distributed.

Chart by John C. Osborn. Updated by Daniel J. Willis, Justin Allen and Yuxuan Xie

Note: Each year in the charts and graphs refers to both the calendar year and the fiscal year. Thus, 2013 incorporated data from the fiscal year 2013-14 (July 1 through June 30) as well as the calendar year 2013.