My First Solar Eclipse! 17 Eye-Opening Photos of Kids Experiencing Science Along the Path of Totality

Bullying on the Rise in NYC Middle and High Schools, NYDN Analysis of Student Surveys Shows

Immigration Agents Inside Schools? Why Some Activists Are Warning Undocumented Students About Trump’s Policy Shifts

NYC Numbers Show City’s Unassigned Teachers Paid $10,000 More on Average Than Those Teaching Kids Full Time

As Immigrant Students Worry About a New School Year, Districts & Educators Unveil Plans to Protect Their Safety (and Privacy)

A D.C. Breakthrough as Traditional Public School Students Post Gains on PARCC Test, Outperforming Charters

This Week in ESSA: Final 4 First-Round States Get Federal Feedback, 6 States Now Approved, Chiefs for Change Weighs In

‘No One Is Above the Law’: Divisive Trump Surrogate Carl Paladino Removed From Buffalo School Board

Veto Override Uncertain as Fight Over Funding Illinois Schools Moves to the House

Noble Network of Charter Schools: It’s Not Just About Going to College, but About Global Perspective & Leaving Chicago

74 Interview: David Hardy on Putting Purpose Before Politics and Kids Before Adults in Leading Ohio’s 2nd State-Takeover District

For Schools, an Eclipse Conundrum: To Open or Close? For Fun or for Science?

New Poll Shows Sharp Decline in Support for Public Charter Schools Over Past Year

A Massachusetts Teachers Union Votes to Kill a Successful Charter School, as Families Scramble for Answers

WATCH: Mission to Mars Video Wins $10,000 and Visit to NASA for 4 NJ Middle Schoolers

Jason Botel Reportedly Out at Education Dept. as Feds Reject ESSA Plan From DeVos’s Home State

2 in 3 High School Students Know of Kids Who Cheat Using Digital Devices — but Few Admit Doing It Themselves

Fewer Than 1 in 3 Americans Support Kids Opting out of Tests; About Half Confused on What ‘Opt Out’ Means

Call Her RoboKid: How a Cutting-Edge Robot Is Helping an Ohio Student Attend Classes While She’s Sick at Home

LearnLaunch Accelerator Gives a Boost to Ed Tech Startups Worldwide From Its Boston Home

You’re Not an ‘Interest Group’ Just Because You Believe School Funding Matters

May 24, 2017

Talking Points

.@RealClearEd op-ed privileges anti-union agenda over facts in denigrating school funding push

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

A pity if overheated teachers union claims about the federal education budget become conflated with the actual needs of schools during this season of fiscal tsuris.

An op-ed in Real Clear Education today does just this from the right, taking to task the “interest groups” who want more money for public schools — by which they apparently mean Democrats, or, with respect to pre-K, safety, and building repair, the interest group known as Americans.

Their argument is built on meh tropes of unions as powerful, self-serving agitators who unrelentingly push for more funding. Support for increases is therefore little more than support for the union. Besides, federal outlays for education are only a small part of a school’s funding, and federal spending has increased substantially over time.

Both true, but not super-relevant. (See, e.g., the growth in pension costs.) If we can get more to schools, even a little, shouldn’t we?

You don’t have to believe that money solves every problem or there’s no fat in school bureaucracies to feel good about saying yes. The evidence is on your side: Increased and more equitable funding resulting from 1990s lawsuits improved student achievement, these researchers show.

Another study, also from 2016, determined that a 10 percent funding increase each year “leads to 0.31 more completed years of education, about 7% higher wages, and a 3.2 percentage point reduction in the annual incidence of adult poverty; effects are much more pronounced for children from low-income families.”

In a review of school financing research, Bruce Baker, a Rutgers University professor, concluded: “In short, money matters, resources that cost money matter, and a more equitable distribution of school funding can improve outcomes.”

(The 74: New Research: States That Chose (or Were Forced) to Spend More Money on Poor Schools Saw Student Gains)

Baker also warned that school funding issues were often misrepresented in political conversation: “Increasingly, political rhetoric adheres to the unfounded certainty that money doesn’t make a difference in education, and that reduced funding is unlikely to harm educational quality.

“Such proclamations have even been used to justify large cuts to education budgets over the past few years,” he said. “These positions, however, have little basis in the empirical research on the relationship between funding and school quality.”