Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Report Demonstrates that Greater Investment, Well Distributed, Raises School Achievement | janresseger

Report Demonstrates that Greater Investment, Well Distributed, Raises School Achievement | janresseger:
Report Demonstrates that Greater Investment, Well Distributed, Raises School Achievement



This blog will take a short late-spring break for the rest of the week.  Look for a new post on Tuesday, May 31.
Last week the Educational Testing Service published an important report, Mind the Gap: 20 Years of Progress and Retrenchment in School Funding, Staffing Resources, and Achievement Gaps, on why it is important for school districts to have sufficient funding and more specifically the ways in which funding matters most.  The report’s authors are Bruce Baker, the school finance expert at Rutgers University and David Sciarra and Danielle Farrie of the Education Law Center.
The report is technical, but one is struck by its clarity and its plain good sense: “How much you spend in a labor intensive industry dictates how many individuals you can employ, the wage you can pay them, and in turn the quality of individuals you can recruit and retain.  But in this modern era of resource-free school reforms, the connections between revenue, spending, and real, tangible resources are often ignored, or, worse, argued to be irrelevant… The primary resources involved in the production of schooling outcomes are human resources—or quantities and qualities of teachers, administrators, support, and other staff in schools.  Quantities of school staff are reflected in pupil-to-teacher ratios and average class sizes.  Reduction of class sizes or reductions of overall pupil-to-staff ratios require additional staff, thus additional money, assuming the wages and benefits for additional staff remain constant.  Qualities of school staff depend in part on the compensation available to recruit and retain the staff—specifically salaries and benefits, in addition to working conditions.  Notably, working conditions may be reflected in part through measures of workload, such as average class sizes, as well as the composition of the student population.”
The authors investigate several revenue-related issues over time and report that school revenues from state and local taxes grew on average between 4.5 and 5.5 percent between 1992 and the high point in 2008 and then, by 2012 fell back, on average, to the level of funding in 2000.  As one might expect, “(S)tates with higher per pupil spending tend, on average, to have more teachers per 100 pupils, that is, on balance, across states, higher spending on schools is leveraged to increase staffing quantities.”  Further, “(S)tates with more progressive distribution of current spending also had more progressive distribution of staffing; that is, in states where higher poverty districts are able to spend more per pupil than lower poverty districts, those higher poverty districts are able to leverage that spending to have more teaching staff per pupil than lower poverty districts.”  “In other words, as one might expect, state aid and federal revenue can improve the progressiveness of current spending across districts within states.  These relationships hold not only across states but also over time.  When state aid and federal aid are increased, fairness generally increases… 20 years of data Report Demonstrates that Greater Investment, Well Distributed, Raises School Achievement | janresseger:

Big Education Ape: How the Supreme Court Upheld Education Funding Inequity http://bit.ly/1qHqg3p

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