According to Kremer and Sansom (2013) “The research is divided on this point because school spending does not demonstrate a clear or consistent relationship with student achievement” (pg. 97). Having said this, there is still a belief by the general public that there is a link between expenditure and student achievement. For example, in 1997 there was an approval of funding by the state legislature to reduce class size in California with an overall “expenditure of approaching $2 billion a year” (Kremer & Sansom, 2013, pg. 98). The thought process being by the general public that as class sizes were reduced there would be more time for each teacher to spend with each pupil, seems logical. Yet according to Kremer and Sansom (2013) “a consortium of research institutions found that math cores increased slightly, and reading scores were unchanged” (pg. 98).
However, let’s assume that money does matter when we discuss student achievement. If this is true why must there be mandates to ensure equity in our school financial system? According to Bruce Baker “on balance, in direct tests of the relationship between financial resources and student outcomes, money matters” (paragraph 8). Based on Dr. Baker research, he has found that there is a benefit between expenditure and student achievement. Mainly that if we do not spend money on students then their achievement drops. Yet Baker points out that this expenditure “such as how that money is spent – in other words, money must be spent wisely to yield benefits” (paragraph 8) is a very important piece of the puzzle.
This is the key to why there must be mandates to ensure equity in our school financial system. Without the public having a say on how money should be spent there would be areas that would not be funded or under funded. For example, before the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, special needs students could be denied an equal education. According to Raymond (2008) “issues led to the establishment of a two-track system of public educational services, one for typical children, the other for children with disabilities” (pg. 33). It took a mandate and an act of Congress to change this. Obviously with the influx of students with disabilities into the schools there was a need to provide funding to those programs. Without a shift in public opinion students with disabilities might still be relegated to being thought in institutions by programs that might not be adequate to their educational needs or by teacher who do not have the expertise to teach them.
It might sound counter productive to have the public decided what educational needs are best for students since a large majority of the public is not verse is educational research but I know that at times it is necessary for the public to push for changes that the state or federal legislatures are not willing to undertake. With a mandate there may not be equity in public funding of schools since in the end the most underserve groups are the ones that demand the least rights.
Baker, D. (2012, January 15). Does Money Matter in Education? Retrieved June 5, 2015, from http://www.shankerinstitute.org/resource/does-money-matter
Kemerer F, & Sansom P. (2013) California School Law, Third Edition. Stanford California: Stanford University Press.
Raymond, Eileen B. Learners with Mild Disabilities: A Characteristics Approach. 3rd ed. Boston: Pearson, 2008. Print.