Revisiting the Age-Old Question: Does Money Matter in Education?
Through a set of carefully selected and presented research findings (he attaches seventy-five endnotes to his eighteen-page paper), Rutgers University education professor Bruce Baker uses this report to refute what he calls the reformers’ “mantra”—that increased education spending, in and of itself, will not lead to higher student achievement. Baker addresses three related policy questions: Does money matter? Do schooling resources that cost money (like class-size reduction) make a difference? And should states boost funding for schools? Backed by his cherry-picked data, he answers yes to all three. “When schools have more money, they have greater opportunity to spend productively. When they don’t, they can’t,” his argument goes. Does that sound to anyone else like a case for a blank check (unsurprising from the Shanker Institute, a creature of the nation’s second-largest teacher union)? To his credit, Baker does offer this disclaimer: There may be “better and more efficient ways to leverage the education dollar toward improved student outcomes.” In that case, we agree, because that’s the “mantra” most reformers have actually been reciting.
For more on this topic, check out Chris Tessone’s new Stretching the School Dollar blog.
Bruce Baker, Revisiting the Age-Old Question: Does Money Matter in Education? (Washington, D.C.: The Albert Shanker Institute, 2011).
Category: School Finance
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