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ERIC Number: EJ822136
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 40
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 77
ISSN: ISSN-0895-9048
The Politics of Off-the-Shelf School Finance Reform
Baker, Bruce D.; Elmer, Douglas R.
Educational Policy, v23 n1 p66-105 2009
This article summarizes and evaluates two "Off-the-Shelf" school finance reforms that gained then waned in popularity over the past several years. The 65 percent solution claims that requiring all public school districts to allocate 65 cents of every education dollar "to the classroom" would drive substantial additional resources to children without increasing total spending, therefore improving the efficiency of public education systems. The 100 percent solution promotes a combination of decentralized school-based governance and budgeting, coupled with a district-to-school budget allocation strategy called "Weighted Student Funding". We begin by evaluating the life cycles of these two reforms, concluding that the 65 percent solution has run its cycle, but that the 100 solution remains viable, mainly because it contains potentially more substantive reform elements. We point out that the research literature on productivity and efficiency of public schooling is far from decisive with respect to either shares of dollars allocated to the classroom or decentralized governance, despite bold claims of proponents of the solutions. Finally, we provide a series of empirical analysis and discussions of related research raising additional questions about the central claims of the reforms, including the claim that "Weighted Student Funding" is a panacea for funding inequities that persist across schools within large urban districts. (Contains 13 tables and 18 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A