Does Money Matter?

scholarshipmoney_story.jpg (JPEG Image, 250 × 250 pixels)Does money matter in education? Isabel V. Sawhill of the Brookings Institution answers: Yes, education spending–and teacher salaries–affect student outcomes. Not only that, but the research shows that money matters even more for minority and underprivileged students, making the money issue an equity issue as well.

Sawhill reviewed education policy papers and research going back to the 1960’s and finds that newer research, which says that money does matter, is better adjusted for confounding variables. For example:

If federal or state aid to education is targeted on schools in high-poverty areas, this will tend to suggest that resource levels don’t matter or may even reduce student performance when it is really the poor performance that leads to the extra funding. 

Her ultimate conclusion is that money matters in education because teachers matter, and attracting and retaining the best talent has to be a priority. She also warns that this task of attracting and retaining excellent teaching candidates is harder than it used to be because now educated women have many more career paths available.

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