There’s new evidence in the old does-money-matter debate, write Kevin Carey and Elizabeth A. Harris in the New York Times. It suggests that spending more in low-income districts improves achievement and long-term outcomes.
Test scores rose more in states that increased funding to poorer districts, according to a study by Berkeley and Northwestern economists. “The changes bought at least twice as much achievement per dollar as a well-known experiment that decreased class sizes in the early grades,” write Carey and Harris.
Another paper, published in the Quarterly Journal of Economics, “found that for poor children, a 10 percent increase in per-pupil spending each year of elementary and secondary school was associated with wages that were nearly 10 percent higher, a drop in the incidence of adult poverty and roughly six additional months of schooling.”
“The notion that spending doesn’t matter is just not true,” (C. Kirabo) Jackson said. “We found that exposure to higher levels of public K-12 spending when you’re in school has a pretty large beneficial effect on the adult outcomes of kids, and that those effects are much more pronounced for children from low-income families.”
A series of education equity lawsuits have forced states to send more money to low-income districts, write Carey and Harris. This fall, a Connecticut judge “ordered the state to revamp nearly every facet of its education policies, from graduation requirements to special education, along with its school funding.”
For many years, research on the relationship between spending and student learning has been surprisingly inconclusive. Many other factors, including student poverty, parental education and the way schools are organized, contribute to educational results.
“How money is spent is equally important,” said Jennifer Alexander, chief executive of the Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now. “I don’t think we have enough information about that from these studies.”