Improving Education Requires Government to Spend More and Spend Smart [Video]


There is a long standing debate between educators and politicians that spending more on education does not improve students' achievements and performance. A recent study from the National Bureau of Economic Research shows otherwise.

The research conducted by Julien Lafortune and Jesse Rothstein, economists both from the University of California in Berkeley together with Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach of Northwestern University.

The New York Times reported that the group examined student test scores from 26 states that have implemented changes in school funding since 1990 and compared them with the same information from 23 states that haven't.

They used test results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), administered by the Education Department to a representative number of schoolchildren across the country. The researchers requested to examine the results as well as student data.

The group found that in the long run, additional money spent by states helped improve the academic performance of students from lowest-income school districts.

The Times also cited another report from the Quarterly Journal of Economics that attempted to address the same question by looking from a different perspective: how long did the students stay in school and how much did they make as adults.

Researchers examined records of children born from 1955 to 1985 and they found that additional spending caused students to stay in school 6 months longer and that students from school that kids ended up 10% more when they started working.

The study was conducted by C. Kirabo Jackson and Claudia Persico from Northwestern and Rucker C. Johnson from UC Berkeley.

While these studies present great evidence that additional spending for the neediest school children has positive returns, what it doesn't show is how the money should be spent. The same sentiment was shared by Jennifer Alexander, CEO of Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now. The Coalition is a group that advocates charter schools and supports other school overhauls.

Robert Slavin, Director of the Center for Research and Reform in Education at Johns Hopkins University emphasized on the Huffington Post the need to support schools and spend money wisely to promote equality in education and learning opportunities among students.

Supplementing schools should focus on the neediest school districts and the most disadvantaged members of the student population.

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