More Studies Show That Money Really Does Matter in Education

Three new US studies have found that increasing funding for disadvantaged students increases school results. They bring to 21 the number of studies in the last five years showing that funding increases targeted at disadvantaged students improves achievement. This is a remarkable degree of unanimity amongst education economists. Even notorious sceptics of the worth of increasing school spending such as Professor Eric Hanushek from Stanford University (USA) and The Economist magazine have been forced to concede that money matters for disadvantaged students.

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How Money Matters

The following is a summary of a new report from the Learning Policy Institute in the United States on school finance reform. It reviews reforms by four US states to undertake progressive school funding strategies in order to substantially improve learning opportunities for all students. It provides recommendations for federal and state policies to address funding inequalities that contribute to the cycle of poverty. It shows that money matters when it comes to improving schools and that how money is spent is critical.

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New School Facilities Matter for Student Achievement

A paper presented to the annual conference of the American Economic Association in January that examined the largest school construction program ever in the United States found strong evidence that it lead to improvements in test scores, attendance and student effort. It also found that the construction program increased neighbourhood house prices.

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Teacher Unions Benefit Schools and Students

Strong teacher unions are critical to improving equity in school funding according to a new study published in the academic journal Review of Economics and Statistics. They also play a major role in translating funding increases into increases in student achievement.

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Funding Increases for Private Schools Continue to Outstrip Increases for Public Schools

New funding figures show that government funding increases for private schools continue to far outstrip increases for public schools. Total government funding per student in public schools was cut between 2009-10 and 2016-17 while private schools received a massive increase. Even during the Gonski funding period of 2012-13 to 2016-17 increases in funding for private schools far outstripped those for public schools.

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Greater Equity in School Funding Increases Intergenerational Mobility

Numerous studies over the past decade or more show that increases in school funding increase student achievement, school completion rates, post-school education and labour market outcomes particularly for disadvantaged students. Now, a new US study shows that more equitable funding of schools increases intergenerational income mobility. Equalisation in school spending closes the gap in investments on the education of low- and high-income students, and this promotes equalisation in their later life outcomes.

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Govt. Concealing Catholic Schools’ Use of Taxpayer Funds

Public accountability for the use of taxpayer funding is a fundamental tenet of democratic government. Yet, this principle has long been ignored by Catholic education authorities who refuse to reveal how they distribute government funding amongst their schools despite it being a legislative requirement. Their refusal has been connived at by successive governments that failed to make the Commonwealth Department of Education enforce the legislation. The latest example of this tacit agreement at work is the refusal of the Education Department to fully disclose how Catholic Education Commissions distribute their taxpayer funding.  

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Education Department Slammed for Failure to Monitor How School Systems Distribute Taxpayer Funding

The Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit of the Parliament has slammed the Commonwealth Department of Education for failing to ensure that government funding of public and private school systems is distributed according to needs-based principles. In a bi-partisan report tabled in the Parliament last week, the Joint Committee criticised a lack of transparency and accountability about school funding caused by inadequate administrative arrangements.

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Public Schools are Defrauded by Billions Under New Funding Agreements

This article is a summary of a new Education Research Brief published by Save Our Schools. The Brief can be downloaded below.

Public schools are being defrauded by billions under school funding agreements finalised at the end of last year between the Commonwealth and state/territory governments (“the states”). Public schools in all states except the ACT will be under-funded indefinitely while private schools in all states except the Northern Territory will be fully funded or more by 2023. Private schools also get more favourable phase-in arrangements than public schools.

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