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Factors of culture and demography obviously play a huge rule in these results. Parents who are education-minded tend to be have the same priorities in the voting booth. That accounts for the general trend that Northeastern States spend the most on education and tend to graduate the most.
The “achievement gap” between white and black students also plays a huge role in explaining why mostly-white Utah graduates more students with less money than the District of Columbia. If spending alone created better outcomes for minority students, Washington D.C. would be doing better than Mississippi – the opposite is true.
And yet, demography isn’t everything either. Alaska, bolstered by oil revenues spends lavishly for such a rural state on education. And yet its student population ranks very low on graduation rates compared to demographically similar states like Idaho.
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