Does Funding Equal Results?

Case Studies on August 21st, 2013 1 Comment

A few comments have been made about schools not needing more funding because more dollars don’t equate to better performance. In some cases that appears to be true. However, we must be careful not to compare apples and oranges as the old saying goes.

Let’s consider a couple of things:

1. Many variables affect test scores; and

2. Tests are very good at measuring only what they’re supposed to measure.

A recent study by John Mackenzie at the University of Delaware suggests that funding does matter.  In fact, the source of funding may also be a determining factor; local rather than state or federal is better regarding SAT scores.  What is disconcerting in Colorado is that the funding trend has been downward since the mid 1980’s and that downward trend accelerated after Amendment 23 passed in 2002!  This information is available at the Colorado School Finance Project’s web site. CSFP is a nonpartisan entity that provides school finance information to the state legislature.

Sunday August 18, 2013 The Denver Post featured a good article about the reforms passed by the legislature this spring that will depend upon the election this November. I recommend that everyone get familiar with the requirements of this legislation (not just reading the ballot language) and decide if it’s worth your support. It stands to reason that after a period of declining revenue per pupil something has to give. While working with many school districts the one glaring result is that class sizes have increased substantially, a factor typically correlated with lower performance. In my opinion it’s time to change our downward spiral before it’s too late, if it isn’t too late already.

One Response to “Does Funding Equal Results?”

  1. Dave Meyer says:

    This is a tricky question. The simple answer is to say that more funding does not automatically translate into better results. And that statement is absolutely true. One concern that I hear over and over again relates back to the teacher’s union, the power they have, and that funding doesn’t reach the classroom because of the union. I do not know how true that statement is but the answer to that problem is to solve that problem and not to reduce funding in general. So while I understand the concerns about the union, I’m deeply concerned about the reduced funding for education in Colorado in general.

    It’s also safe to say that while increasing funding does not guarantee increased learning or test scores, reducing funding certainly won’t improve things either. I’ve yet to see any reports that show reduced funding leads to improved quality.

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