This week John Tapogna, ECONorthwest president and senior policy analyst, published the guest blog post "Making Money Matter" on the Chalkboard Project blog. It reads:
For much of the last 15 years, Oregon K-12 educators have waited for additional revenue to boost school quality and achievement. A weak economy and growing medical and corrections costs have gotten in the way. And looking forward, the costs associated with an aging population, the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, and rising public pension costs will compete with classroom dollars. In short, K-12’s fight for sustained, significant increases in funding will be as tough in the next decade as it has been in the past.
While educators can, and should, advocate for additional resources, they must simultaneously evaluate how well they are deploying the dollars they have. Evidence suggests a weak relationship between per-student spending and achievement. In a classic debate, competing economists from Princeton and Stanford dug into the same set of rigorous K-12 spending studies. The Princeton economist concluded spending had improved achievement in about half of the studies’ findings. By the Stanford economist’s accounting, only a quarter of the studies exhibited a spending-to-achievement link.
So, does money matter? These dueling economists might say the answer ranges from “maybe” to “probably not.”
We get a similar answer in Oregon, where data show different outcomes across similarly situated and funded schools.
The rest of the piece is available here.
John Tapogna is President of ECONorthwest and oversees the firm's overall business strategy and operations. Since his arrival at ECONorthwest in 1997, Tapogna has built practices in education, healthcare, human service, and tax policy.