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Does Spending More on Education Improve Academic Achievement?

December 5, 2016

"Continuous spending increases have not corresponded with equal improvement in American educational performance."

From the introduction:

Debates about how to improve public Education in America often focus on whether government should spend more on education. Federal and state policymakers proposing new Education programs often base their arguments on the need to provide more resources to schools to improve opportunities for students.

Many Americans seem to share this view. Polling data show that many people believe that government allocates insufficient resources to schools. A poll conducted annually from 2004 through 2007 found that American adults list insufficient funding and resources as a top problem facing public schools in their communities.

While this view may be commonly held, policymakers and citizens should question whether historical evidence and academic research actually support it. This paper addresses two important questions:

  1. How much does the United States spend on public Education?
  2. What does the evidence show about the relationship between public Education spending and students' academic achievement?

The answers to these questions should inform federal and state policy debates about how best to improve education.