Giving Compass’ Take:
• Four studies have found that increased school funding helps low-income students succeed, but work remains to be done to figure out how it should be spent.
• What are the top needs of students in your community?
• Learn about America’s racial school funding gap.
Does money matter in education? The answer is increasingly clear.
A 2018 overview of the research on education spending found that more money consistently meant better outcomes for students — higher test scores, higher graduation rates, and sometimes even higher wages as adults. It was enough for Northwestern economist Kirabo Jackson to say the question was “essentially settled.”
Since then, the research hits have just kept on coming.
Four new studies from different parts of the country have come to similar conclusions. In Texas and in Wisconsin, researchers found that spending more translated to higher test scores and boosted college enrollment. Two other studies — one looking at California and another looking across seven states — found that spending more money didn’t affect test scores in more affluent areas, but did boost test scores in higher-poverty districts.
“All four studies find that increased school spending improves student outcomes,” said Jackson.
The findings come as school spending is on the upswing across the country, with states continuing to rebound from the Great Recession and policymakers respond to pressure from striking teachers to invest more in schools. The new research indicates that students are likely to benefit from those increases, even as notable disparities between states like Mississippi and Massachusetts, and between some neighboring school districts, linger.
The studies don’t provide clear answers on how to best use new resources, though, and they focus on whether pure increases in spending lead to better outcomes. Some pricey initiatives — particularly school turnaround efforts nationally and in New York City — have fallen short of expectations. That suggests it does matter how money is spent.
Read the full article about increasing school funding by Matt Barnum at Chalkbeat.
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