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

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.”

janresseger

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…

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