13 August 2005

Money, Money, Money

If a school had more money, would that make a difference in terms of student performance? Is that enough?

A recent article in the Christian Science Monitor takes a look at these ideas. In Illinois, "the difference in annual spending between the wealthiest district and the poorest has grown to $19,361 per pupil." That's an enormous difference, to be sure, but doesn't directly correlate to student performance. While it is more likely that students in a wealthier school setting will do better on standardized tests, it's not a given. "...A few schools often manage to do well with very limited funds, and that many schools have seen influxes of money without a corresponding payoff in achievement...Just giving more money doesn't solve the problems of achievement. In order to run an effective school, you have to have enough money and you have to spend it well. It's not an either-or situation."

Great. So, suppose you do have "enough money." What do you spend it on? Ah, the article doesn't reveal this.

What would I choose to spend the money on? Hmmm...curriculum materials...technology...more teachers, not necessarily for smaller class sizes (which don't seem to impact student achievement), but for fewer classes. This would allow teachers more time to collaborate and plan their instruction---one thing we definitely know is tied to student achievement.

No matter how much money a school has, it still won't impact things happening in the homes of its students: socioeconomic status, perceived value of education, time spent as a family, etc. All those intangibles that can be so crucial to the success of a child. Things you just can't put a price on.

1 comment:

Rob said...

No matter how much money a school has, it still won't impact things happening in the homes of its students: socioeconomic status, perceived value of education, time spent as a family, etc. All those intangibles that can be so crucial to the success of a child. Things you just can't put a price on.

Shout it from the housetops, sister! As much as I would like to see more accountability in the teaching profession, I would like to see it from parents and our culture even more.