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ERIC Number: ED507401
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Aug-8
Pages: 54
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 36
Weighted Student Funding for Primary Schools: An Analysis of the Dutch Experience. Working Paper Series. SAN09-02
Ladd, Helen F.; Fiske, Edward B.
Sanford School of Public Policy
In recent years, policy makers and educators in the U.S. have begun to show considerable interest in the concept of weighted student funding as a means of financing primary and secondary schools. Weighted student funding (WSF) has three main elements. Money follows students on a per student basis to the schools they attend, the per student amount of the funding differs with the educational needs of the student, and schools have the flexibility to use the money in whatever way they wish. Although a relatively new idea in the U.S., weighted student funding has a long history in the Netherlands. The Dutch program is impressive not only because many disadvantaged students bring with them almost twice as much funding as regular students, but also because the system has sustained political support over a long period of time. Our analysis of the Dutch system shows that schools with high proportions of weighted students in the country's four big cities have access to substantially more resources that schools with few weighted students. In particular, the high weight schools have 57 percent more teachers per pupil on average as well as almost twice as many additional support staff per teacher. These additional resources notwithstanding, we find that weighted student funding does not assure equal quality schooling, which we take as the minimal goal of such a policy. In particular, the quality of education in the high weight schools, as measured by the standardized evaluations of the Dutch Inspectorate of Education, on average falls short of that in the low weight schools. This basic finding about school quality, as well as other considerations, suggests that although weighted student funding has the potential to generate some major equity gains over the current U.S. system of funding schools, it is not the "100 percent solution" as claimed by some of its U.S. supporters. Moreover, there is no guarantee that any significant movement in the direction of student funding in the U.S would be accompanied by the highly progressive weights that are central to Dutch system. (Contains 43 footnotes, 10 figures, and 7 tables.)
Sanford School of Public Policy. Box 90239, Durham, NC 27708. Tel: 919-613-7401; Fax: 919-681-8288; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Duke University, Sanford School of Public Policy
Identifiers - Location: Netherlands