March 2013 Issue
- Early Childhood Education
February 25, 2013

Report: Make money matter

Source: NYSUT United

A recently released report about smart school expenditures further underscores NYSUT's call for strategic investments in public education.

In Research-Based Options for Education Policymaking — Effective School Expenditures, William Mathis stresses that it is imperative for schools and policymakers to study where money matters. Simply spending money does not by itself create quality educational opportunities, he says.

Mathis highlights eight areas where increased policy emphasis and funding can lead to improved outcomes: community and social factors, early childhood education, community schools, extended day and year, full-day kindergarten, class size, teacher quality and funding for high-needs children.

NYSUT has continually made the case for commonsense solutions, such as investments for early childhood education and reducing class size, as a means to ending the achievement gap and improving overall education quality.

NYSUT President Dick Iannuzzi and Vice President Maria Neira pressed for those and other solutions when they testified last fall before the New NY Education Reform Commission.

Mathis' report also supports NYSUT's position that high-stakes test scores are not valid indicators of education quality.

"Simple comparisons of spending with test scores will systematically underestimate the effects of proper school funding," Mathis writes, cautioning that "an expensive but ill-considered policy can prove wasteful or even counter-productive."

Of all of the factors, Mathis says reducing the negative effects of economic and social conditions "may do more to improve our schools than most or all school reforms."

Mathis is managing director of the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder. The report, released in February, is part of the series, Research-Based Options, by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research & Practice.