Money and Schools: Debating Ben Spielberg 50 Years After the Coleman Report

Is “more money” a vital education policy, when compared with other possible changes? Should taxpayers allocate significantly more money to existing K-12 public schools, without demanding structural reforms? On average, if existing K-12 public schools had more money, would students obtain significant or sustainable benefits?

Increasingly, conventional wisdom answers “yes:” many say that money alone, even without reform, helps students. Matt Barnum, policy editor of education website The 74 Millionposted in April: “At this point there’s a large body of evidence that more $ leads to better outcomes,” linking to a February summary of recent case study research. Nick Albares, a policy analyst with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, wrote in January’s Education Post: “common sense and research suggests [that] money matters for long-term outcomes.” In response to my 2015 column contrain Dropout Nation, the analyst Ben Spielberg wrote a sharp dispute.

In the spirit of the Education Post mantra of “better conversation, better education,” Spielberg and I dedicated several hours researching each other’s claims and meeting in person to develop a common fact base and framework. This column represents my reflections on that effort.

Continue reading at Education Post. 

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