This is a pre-print version of an article by Paul Hill and Marguerite Roza that was published in ASBO International's School Business Affairs magazine, Volume 74, Number 8.
Despite decades of litigation and research on school finance, Americans are a long way from knowing how much spending is required to educate all our children to standards.
Our children deserve and need a good education and we must do everything possible to provide it. But spending will always be finite, and schools will never to be able to afford everything they can use. So it is vital we know the difference between effective and ineffective uses of funds.
Tom Vander Ark, a former superintendent and then head of the Gates Foundation's education initiative, asked the Center on Reinventing Public Education to undertake a study that would totally re-think the linkages between how much money is spent on K-12 education, what resources are purchased, and whether students learn.
After 5 years of work and more than 30 research projects, it is clear that the way we finance schools has little connection with our goals for student learning.