Big money, small gains

After huge increases in school funding, starting in 1990, Kentucky schools have improved, but most students aren’t proficient in reading, writing, math or science. The state is back in court to defend the adequacy of education funding, reports the New York Times.

Since the overhaul more than a decade ago, the state has increased its yearly spending considerably – to $7,021 per student in 2003, compared with $2,898 in 1990, state figures show. That is more than three times the percentage increase that the court appointed panel has proposed for New York City students over the next four years.

Test scores have increased steadily, but remain low.

Not much more than a third of the students are considered to be proficient or better in the basic subjects that all are supposed to master within a decade, state records show.

. . . “The important thing to remember is that adequacy doesn’t ask the question, ‘Are you spending money and doing a good job with it?’ ” said Jacob E. Adams, director of the School Finance Redesign Project at the University of Washington.

Kentucky’s additional funding came with a statewide school reform program that was considered cutting edge. But not all reforms work.

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  1. Money Doesn’t Solve All Problems

    Joanne Jacobs points us to a New York Times article regarding the current state of Kentucky’s education system, which finds itself in a similar political position as Kansas — despite significant increases in state outlays, some say it’s not enough.Big