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Student Achievement: Yes, Money Matters

Funding inequities in schools create great disparities in students' educational opportunities and outcomes

A new report from the Learning Policy Institute (LPI) finds that funding inequities in schools — which impact everything from class sizes to course offerings to salaries for expert teachers — create great disparities in educational opportunities and outcomes for children. Students from low-income families and students of color experience the greatest disparities.

The report, “How Money Matters for Schools,” draws on a large body of research that establishes that school resources are associated with higher student achievement. For example, researchers found that increasing per-pupil spending by 10 percent in all 12 school-age years increases the probability of high school graduation by 7 percentage points for all students, and by roughly 10 percentage points for low-income children.

“Our nation’s economy depends on a well-educated, high-quality workforce, and that means investing in all students,” said Linda Darling-Hammond, president and CEO of LPI, in a press statement. She said that if we don’t ensure students with high needs have the quality schools that their wealthier peers have, “we deny far too many of them the opportunity to succeed and to contribute to society.”

The report’s key policy recommendations include:
• Ensure school finance reforms are linked to thoughtful standards and supports for students and teachers.
• Invest more in students who have greater needs.
• Invest in human resources — especially the quality of teachers.
Read the report here.

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