Student performance: is more money the answer?

As the amount of money available for various publicly supported enterprises decreases, the relationship of money to purchases made intensifies as a concern. This question of input to output always has been an economist's focus of concern. However, the production function analyses carried out have been inconclusive, as the output for educational concerns has shifted from opportunity to achievement results of students. What is spent generally has been accepted as the equivalent to the dollar allocation per pupil or student. In other words, what is spent has equated expenditure, a value that any financial statement could quickly reveal. This is an error in understanding given that an input-output situation is of concern. As noted by Fowler and Monk (2001), expenditure need not be tied to outcomes or benefits. Cost, on the other hand, cannot be divorced from benefit received. This distinction is important in the investigation of spending in terms of student performance. Overall, the literature indicates that the amount of money cannot be removed as an important variable in the education achievement of students. Furthermore, the literature clearly points to usage of money allocated as key. The relationship between spending and student performance is a highly contested point among parents and taxpayers, educators (teachers and school administrators), school boards, and government. Researchers and academics have attempted to bring a less value-burdened perspective to the discussions and debates. This article brings together literature from the latter group as well as the main points of contention that appear to anchor the discussion and debates of the former groups. In doing so, I attempt to clarify the link between funding available to educate students in the K-12 public education system and the achievement of students within the mandated curriculum. It can be argued that alternative education systems should not be removed from this examination. However, the majority of students are educated in public schools. Although the exceptions are of interest and at times direct our vision to other possibilities, they are still exceptions

Jefferson, Anne L.
p. 111-124
Americas and the Caribbean
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Economics of education
Studies of achievement

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