Virtual School Meanderings

June 20, 2016

Why Money Matters in Education

From the inbox this past week…

June 16, 2016

William J. Mathis, (802) 383-0058,
Daniel J. Quinn, (517) 203-2940,

Why Money Matters in Education

EAST LANSING, Mich. (Jun. 16, 2016) — For the past 10 years, the PDK/Gallup poll has consistently reported that the public feels lack of financial support is the biggest problem facing American schools. Despite this, some believe that more money would not improve the quality of public schools. A new concise brief out today explains why adequate and equitable funding is necessary for schools to improve their performance — especially in schools serving children living in poverty.

The eighth in a series of policy briefs addresses how underinvestment, the result of political decision-making, threatens our schools. Research-Based Options for Education Policymaking is a compilation of short policy briefs that takes important policy issues and identifies policies supported by research. Each section focuses on a different issue, with recommendations to policymakers based on sound scholarship.

The compendium is produced by the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) and is funded in part by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice. In Does Money Matter?, William J. Mathis, University of Colorado Boulder, considers the evidence used to support the claim that no correlation exists between spending and school quality. Mathis finds the evidence to be clear that money does, in fact, matter.

He says that adequate and equitable distribution of school financial resources are a “necessary underlying condition for maintaining democracy, improving overall school quality and outcomes.” Mathis does caution that results vary from place to place, but that funding matters most for economically deprived children.

His recommendations for sound investments include:

  • High-quality preschool;
  • Small class sizes — particularly in lower grades and for economically deprived children;
  • Teacher pay; and
  • Additional learning time – which has a positive effect on academic motivation and low-performing students.

Find the concise brief on the GLC website:

This brief is also found on the NEPC website at:

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The mission of the Great Lakes Center for Education, Research & Practice is to support and disseminate high quality research and reviews of research for the purpose of informing education policy and to develp reasearch-based resources for use by those who advocate for education reform.

Visit the Great Lakes Center website at

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