School Funding

All Research

Why Money Matters for Improving Education

This article explore the relationship between per pupil spending and learning, particularly in developing countries that spend much lower levels in education than do OECD countries. Their findings suggest that, when education systems spend above $8,000, the association between student learning and per student spending is no longer statistically significant. Therefore, they find a threshold effect after this level of resources is met, indicating a declining relationship between resources and achievement at high levels of expenditure (consistent with other recent literature). There is a positive relationship between student learning and per pupil expenditure among the low-spending countries (below $8,000 per student), but a flat relationship among high-spending countries. 

 Vegas, E. (2016).Why Money Matters for Improving Education. Brooking Institutions. Retrieved from

Some pragmatics in the valid and reliable recording of directly observed behavior

This article examines issues in developing valid and reliable direct observation of behavior. Suggestions are made to minimize the problems that threaten validity and reliability. The discussion is concluded by an examination of costs and benefits of direct observation and who pays them and who benefits from them.

Baer, D. M., Harrison, R., Fradenburg, L., Petersen, D., & Milla, S. (2005). Some pragmatics in the valid and reliable recording of directly observed behavior. Research on Social Work Practice15(6), 440-451.

Ventilation rates in recently constructed U.S. school classrooms

Low ventilation rates (VRs) in schools have been associated with absenteeism, poorer academic performance, and teacher dissatisfaction. The steady-state, build-up, and decay methods had significant limitations and biases, showing the need to confirm that these methods are appropriate. Findings highlight the need to increase VRs and to ensure that energy saving and comfort measures do not compromise ventilation and IAQ.

Batterman, S. T. U. A. R. T., Su, F. C., Wald, A., Watkins, F., Godwin, C., & Thun, G. (2017). Ventilation rates in recently constructed US school classrooms. Indoor Air27(5), 880-890.

Trends in College Pricing 2018

Trends in College Pricing provides information on changes over time in undergraduate tuition and fees, room and board, and other estimated expenses related to attending colleges and universities. The report, which includes data through 2018-19 from the College Board's Annual Survey of Colleges, reveals the wide variation in prices charged by institutions of different types and in different parts of the country. 

Baum, S., & Ma, J. (2014). Trends in higher education series: Trends in college pricing.

Collaboration: Closing the effective teaching gap

Over the last decade, policy and business leaders have come to know what parents have always known: teachers are the largest school-based factor in student achievement. Yet not all schools have equal access to the most effective teachers. High-needs schools that serve large proportions of economically disadvantaged and minority students are more likely to have difficulty recruiting and retaining teachers, particularly in high-demand subjects like math and special education.

Berry, B., Daughtrey, A., & Wieder, A. (2009). Collaboration: Closing the Effective Teaching Gap. Center for teaching quality.

Application of Economic Analysis to School-Wide Positive Behavior Support (SWPBS) Programs

The authors discuss how to use economic techniques to evaluate educational programs and show how to apply basic cost analysis to implementation of school-wide positive behavior support (SWPBS).

Blonigen, B. A., Harbaugh, W. T., Singell, L. D., Horner, R. H., Irvin, L. K., & Smolkowski, K. S. (2008). Application of economic analysis to school-wide positive behavior support (SWPBS) programs. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 10(1), 5–19. doi: 10.1177/1098300707311366

Examining how treatment fidelity is supported, measured, and reported in K–3 reading intervention research

Treatment fidelity data (descriptive and statistical) are critical to interpreting and generalizing outcomes of intervention research. Despite recommendations for treatment fidelity reporting from funding agencies and researchers, past syntheses have found treatment fidelity is frequently unreported in educational interventions and fidelity data are seldom used to analyze its relation to student outcomes.

Capin, P., Walker, M. A., Vaughn, S., & Wanzek, J. (2018). Examining how treatment fidelity is supported, measured, and reported in K–3 reading intervention research. Educational psychology review30(3), 885-919.

Evaluation of the Teacher Incentive Fund: Implementation and impacts of pay-for-performance after two years

Recent efforts to attract and retain effective educators and to improve teacher practices have focused on reforming evaluation and compensation systems for teachers and principals. In 2006, Congress established the Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF), which provides grants.

Chiang, H., Wellington, A., Hallgren, K., Speroni, C., Herrmann, M., Glazerman, S., & Constantine, J. (2015). Evaluation of the Teacher Incentive Fund: Implementation and Impacts of Pay-for-Performance after Two Years. NCEE 2015-4020. National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance.

Costs and budgeting for success

Estimates yielded by the cost study were based on “standard values” of resources so that cost estimates could be generalized, rather than merely reflect the unique circumstances of each site. We expected program cost to vary somewhat depending on the target population—paraprofessional, uncertified teacher, and RPCVs—because programs serving different populations differ somewhat in structure, design, length, and services offered. We also expected cost to vary depending on whether a site was affiliated with a public or a private higher education institution.

Clewell, B. C., & Villegas, A. M. (2001). Ahead of the Class: A Handbook for Preparing New Teachers from New Sources. Design Lessons from the DeWitt Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund's Pathways to Teaching Careers Initiative.

Teacher preparation is essential to TFA’s future

Teachers go into debt to enter a career that pays noticeably less than their alternatives—especially if they work in high-poverty schools— and reach the profession through a smorgasbord of training options, from excellent to awful, often followed by little mentoring or help. As a result, while some teachers are well prepared, many students in needy schools experience a revolving door of inexperienced and underprepared teachers.

Darling-Hammond, L. (2011). Teacher preparation is essential to TFA’s future. Education Week30(24), 25-26.

Getting beneath the veil of effective schools: Evidence from New York City

This paper examines data on 39 charter schools and correlates these data with school effectiveness. We find that class size, per-pupil expenditure, teacher certification, and teacher training—are not correlated with school effectiveness. In stark contrast, we show that frequent teacher feedback, the use of data to guide instruction, high-dosage tutoring, increased instructional time, and high expectations—explains approximately 45 percent of the variation in school effectiveness.

Dobbie, W., & Fryer Jr, R. G. (2013). Getting beneath the veil of effective schools: Evidence from New York City. American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 5(4), 28-60.

Paying for public education: New evidence on how and why money matters

Allocating resources efficiently and equitably in public primary and secondary schools has been an elusive goal. Among the primary reasons is the surprising scarcity of data appropriate for establishing the relative importance of various schooling inputs.

Ferguson, R. F. (1991). Paying for public education: New evidence on how and why money matters. Harv. J. on Legis.28, 465.

How crumbling school facilities perpetuate inequality

The average public school building was built around 1968 — more than 50 years ago — and the National Center for Education Statistics reports that half of all public schools in the United States need at least one major facility repair. This text explains how poorly maintained school buildings have a negative effect on both student and teacher performance and health. 

Filardo, M., Vincent, J. M., & Sullivan, K. J. (2019). How crumbling school facilities perpetuate inequality. Phi Delta Kappan, 100(8), 27–31.

The Effects Of High-Quality Professional Development On Teachers And Students: A Rapid Review and Meta-analysis

The Education Policy Institute and Ambition Institute were commissioned by the Wellcome Trust to examine the costs and benefits of a policy entitling all teachers to thirty-five hours of high-quality professional development every year. This rapid review provides evidence to help model these costs and benefits.

Fletcher-Wood, H., & Zuccollo, J. (2020). The effects of high-quality professional development on teachers and students: A rapid review and meta-analysis. Education Policy Institute.

Public employee quality in a geographic context: A study of rural teachers

Recruiting high quality employees is one of the key functions of public human resource managers and a critical component of effective public service delivery. This is particularly true in education but little is known about public sector or teacher hiring patterns in areas that are predominantly rural, poor, and isolated from other locales.

Fowles, J., Butler, J. S., Cowen, J. M., Streams, M. E., & Toma, E. F. (2014). Public employee quality in a geographic context: A study of rural teachers. The American Review of Public Administration44(5), 503-521.

The best laid plans: Pay for performance incentive programs for school leaders

In an era of heightened accountability and limited fiscal resources, school districts have sought novel ways to increase the effectiveness of their principals in an effort to increase student proficiency. To address these needs, some districts have turned to pay-for- performance programs, aligning leadership goals with financial incentives to motivate and direct leadership efforts. Pay-for-performance strategies have been applied to schools for decades.

Goff, P., Goldring, E., & Canney, M. (2016). The best laid plans: Pay for performance incentive programs for school leaders. Journal of Education Finance42(2), 127-152.

A developmental model for determining whether the treatment is actually implemented

Determining whether or not the treatment or innovation under study is actually in use, and if so, how it is being used, is essential to the interpretation of any study. The concept of Levels of Use of the Innovation (LoU) permits an operational, cost-feasible description and documentation of whether or not an innovation or treatment is being implemented.

Hall, G. E., & Loucks, S. F. (1977). A developmental model for determining whether the treatment is actually implemented. American Educational Research Journal14(3), 263-276.

Professional capital: Transforming teaching in every school

Transforming education is one of the signature challenges of our times. This book sets out exactly and undeniably why the only way to do it is to honor and improve the profession of teaching. Written by two of the sharpest educational thinkers in the world, this book is an incisive critique of the failing reform movements in many countries and a powerful manifesto for the only strategy that can and does work.

Hargreaves, A., & Fullan, M. (2015). Professional capital: Transformng teaching in every school. Teachers College Press.

Value-added measures in education: What every educator needs to know

In" Value-Added Measures in Education", Douglas N. Harris takes on one of the most hotly
debated topics in education. Drawing on his extensive work with schools and districts, he
sets out to help educators and policymakers understand this innovative approach to
assessment and the issues associated with its use.

Harris, D. N. (2011). Value-Added Measures in Education: What Every Educator Needs to Know. Harvard Education Press. 8 Story Street First Floor, Cambridge, MA 02138.

Challenges in building usable knowledge in education

The scientific rigor of education research has improved dramatically since the year 2000. Much of the credit for this improvement is deserved by Institute of Education Sciences (IES) policies that helped create a demand for rigorous research; increased human capital capacity to carry out such work; provided funding for the work itself; and collected, evaluated, and made available the results of that work through the What Works Clearinghouse.

Hedges, L. V. (2018). Challenges in building usable knowledge in education. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness11(1), 1-21.

Putting school budgets in teachers’ hands

Who decides what education products and services schools buy? For the most part, it’s district purchasing agents, school principals, technology coordinators, and bureaucrats—anyone but the end user in the classroom. It’s an ineffective market, with products and services handed down to teachers from purchasing decisionmakers on high.

Horn, M. B., & Goldstein, M. (2018). Putting school budgets in teachers’ hands. Education Next18(4).

Salary incentives and teacher quality: The effect of a district-level salary increase on teacher recruitment

A salary increase in an urban school district can attract more applicants. The policy attracted applicants who would have only applied to higher-paying school districts in the absence of the salary increase. Improvements in the applicant pool can lead to an increase in the quality of new-hires.

Hough, H. J. (2012). Salary Incentives and Teacher Quality: The Effect of a Compensation Increase on Teacher Recruitment and Retention in the San Francisco Unified School District. Stanford University.

Projections of education statistics to 2022

Total public and private elementary and secondary school enrollment was 55 million in fall
2011, representing a 5 percent increase since fall 1997 (table 1). Between fall 2011, the last
year of actual public school data, and fall 2022, a further increase of 6 percent is expected.

Hussar, W. J., & Bailey, T. M. (2014). Projections of Education Statistics to 2022. NCES 2014-051. National Center for Education Statistics.

IPEDS presents NCES postsecondary survey.

Through several postsecondary surveys, NCES collects information about where and how the aid is distributed and whether it had an impact on student outcomes. This brochure describes the NCES postsecondary survey. 

IPEDS presents NCES postsecondary survey. (2018). National Center for Education Statistic, 2017136. Retrieved from

Feedback at the System Level: Benchmarking U.S. Education Performance

This analysis examines the performance of the U.S. K–12 education system over time, in comparison to other nations, and at different levels of organizational structure: states, school districts, and schools. It also reviews performance in terms of four societal outcomes: effectiveness, equity, efficiency, and participation.

Keyworth, R., States, J. & Detrich, R. (2013). Feedback at the System Level: Benchmarking U.S. Education Performance. In Performance Feedback: Using Data to Improve Educator Performance (Vol. 3, pp. 1-76). Oakland, CA: The Wing Institute.


The Birth and Death Cycles of Educational innovations

A study of 27 promising programs reveals 8 common reasons that educational innovations fail, including disenchanted practitioners; departure of innovation supporters; lack of personnel training; disappearing funding; inadequate supervision; and lack of accountability, administrative support, and termination consequences. Innovations succeed by avoiding overload, complementing school mission, and securing board approval

Latham, G. (1988). The birth and death cycles of educational innovations. Principal68(1), 41-43.

Understanding Student-Weighted Allocation as a Means to Greater School Resource Equity

This study provides evidence that student-weighted allocation can be a means toward greater resource equity among schools within districts. Resource equity is defined here in per-pupil needs-weighted fiscal terms.

Miles, K. H., & Roza, M. (2006). Understanding student-weighted allocation as a means to greater school resource equity. Peabody Journal of Education81(3), 39-62.

Leveling the Playing Field: Creating Funding Equity Through Student-Based Budgeting

The authors trace the district's process of moving to a system of student-based budgeting:
funding children rather than staff members and weighting the funding according to schools'
and students' needs.

Miles, K. H., Ware, K., & Roza, M. (2003). Leveling the playing field: Creating funding equity through student-based budgeting. Phi Delta Kappan85(2), 114-119.

A Cost Allocation Model for Shared District Resources: A Means for Comparing Spending Across Schools

This paper addresses one key driver of spending variation between schools: shared district resources.

Miller, L. J., Roza, M., & Swartz, C. (2004). A cost allocation model for shared district resources: A means for comparing spending across schools. Developments in school finance, 69.

CPRE’s School Finance Research: Fifteen Years of Findings

This paper examines school costs in relationship to student outcomes.

Odden. A. (2008). CPRE’s School Finance Research: Fifteen Years of Findings. Consortium for Policy Research in Education.

A New Look at Inequities in School Funding: A Presentation on the Resource Variations within Districts.

This document presents the first results of a series of studies on within-district spending patterns. It provides an overview of some early analysis of variations in spending among schools within three unnamed school districts.

Roza, M. (2002). A New Look at Inequities in School Funding: A Presentation on the Resource Variations within Districts.

How Within-District Spending Inequities Help Some Schools to Fail

This paper focuses on one aspect of district spending ambiguity, namely, differences in per-pupil spending masked by teacher salary cost averaging. 

Roza, M., Hill, P. T., Sclafani, S., & Speakman, S. (2004). How within-district spending inequities help some schools to fail. Brookings papers on education policy, (7), 201-227.

Using Staff and Student Time Engaged in Disciplinary Procedures to Evaluate the Impact of School-Wide PBS

This article presents an example of how school time was monitored to facilitate a cost analysis of school-wide systems of positive behavior support (PBS). 

Scott, T. M., & Barrett, S. B. (2004). Using staff and student time engaged in disciplinary procedures to evaluate the impact of school-wide PBS. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions6(1), 21-27.

Reign of error: The hoax of the privatization movement and the danger to America’s public schools

In Reign of Error, Diane Ravitch argues that the crisis in American education is not a crisis of academic achievement but a concerted effort to destroy public schools in this country. She makes clear that, contrary to the claims being made, public school test scores and graduation rates are the highest they've ever been, and dropout rates are at their lowest point.

Searson, A. (2016). Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools.

What are the Economic Costs of Implementing SWPBIS in Comparison to the Benefits from Reducing Suspensions?

This research brief provide an introductory overview of the cost of implementation of SWPBIS, as a school-wide approach to reduce suspensions, compared to the cost of school dropout.

Swain-Bradway, J., Lindstrom Johnson, S., Bradshaw, C., & McIntosh, K. (2017). What are the economic costs of implementing SWPBIS in comparison to the benefits from reducing suspensions. PBIS evaluation brief). Eugene, OR: OSEP TA Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports.

Does School Spending Matter? The New Literature on an Old Question.

This paper of American United States school finances finds evidence to support the importance of providing equitable funding across school districts. These results have important policy implications and suggest areas for future research.

This paper of American United States school finances finds evidence to support the importance of providing equitable funding across school districts. These results have important policy implications and suggest areas for future research.

Hey! Don't Forget About Me! Education's Investment in the Severely, Profoundly, and Multiply Handicapped.

Presented are 12 author contributed chapters which developed out of an invisible college of leaders concerned with providing services to the severely, profoundly, and multiply handicappe

Thomas, M. A. (1976). Hey! Don't Forget About Me! Education's Investment in the Severely, Profoundly, and Multiply Handicapped.

Are we making the differences that matter in education?

This paper argues that ineffective practices in schools carry a high price for consumers and suggests that school systems consider the measurable yield in terms of gains in student achievement for their schooling effort.

VanDerHeyden, A. (2013). Are we making the differences that matter in education. In R. Detrich, R. Keyworth, & J. States (Eds.),Advances in evidence-based education: Vol 3(pp. 119–138). Oakland, CA: The Wing Institute. Retrieved from

Cross-Country Evidence on Teacher Performance Pay

This international study examines the impact of teacher performance pay on student math, science, and reading achievement.

Woessmann, L. (2011). Cross-country evidence on teacher performance pay. Economics of Education Review, 30(3), 404-418.

Are multidisciplinary teams worth the investment?

The efficacy of using multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) for special education evaluation and programming is increasingly being questioned. Current research data provide only weak support for the continued use of MDTs. 

Yoshida, R. K. (1983). Are multidisciplinary teams worth the investment?. School Psychology Review12(2), 137-143.

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