Public schools: More money doesn’t automatically increase performance

Pratt on Texas - copyright Pratt on Texas all rights reservedThe next Texas Legislature is sure to focus heavily on public school finance reform. Mostly this reform will be on complicated funding formulae as opposed to tons of new money going to schools from state coffers.

Remember that more money, always more money, is the only uniting thing amongst the public school lobby. It is usually the school districts suing the state, effectively suing each other, over who gets what and when, which when examined closely leads one to understand that it will be impossible for legislators to actually create school finance system that stops the bickering – which goes back to the 1920’s by the way.

Yet taxpayers and parents should be appalled by the pervasive and perverse notion that spending, by itself, is a positive factor.

Certainly more money is the goal for school district officials but, does evidence show a direct correlation between more money and better educational outcomes?

Academic researchers Stan Liebowitz and Matthew Kelly published the summary of their work at reason.com with this headline: “Everything You Know About State Education Rankings Is Wrong.” A line from piece reads: “Yet taxpayers and parents should be appalled by the pervasive and perverse notion that spending, by itself, is a positive factor.”

The report details the flawed nature of the many published public school rankings in which most commonly more spending reported raises ranked position even when educational outcomes were not better. The researchers clearly demonstrate that the ranking reports are deeply flawed.

The researchers clearly demonstrate that the ranking reports are deeply flawed.

“The regression [analysis, corrected for outcomes as opposed to spending levels,] results support the view that expenditures are not linked to student performance. It turns out that throwing more money at something isn’t guaranteed to yield improvement—as Kansas City demonstrated when, under court control from 1985 to 1997, it became the highest-spending school district in the country. It also failed to increase its performance,” Liebowitz and Kelly point out.

What do you think?...

© Pratt on Texas / Perstruo Texas, Inc.