Academic journal article Education Next

Adequacy Studies

Academic journal article Education Next

Adequacy Studies

Article excerpt

Jim Guthrie and Matthew Springer's article "Courtroom Alchemy" (features, Winter 2007) presents a mistaken analysis of education-funding adequacy studies. First, the authors dismiss the pressure schools face from the federal No Child Left Behind Act, which requires near-universal student proficiency less than seven years from now. The authors infer solely from cost data that states with currently higher test scores on exams such as the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) should not need significant new resources.

Second, the article provides a figure that displays the supposed differences in instructional personnel per 1,000 students across eight state studies to indicate a weakness in the overall professional judgment approach, which relies on the judgement of a panel of educators. The figure fails to account for several factors:

* Every state has its own unique accountability system with unique standards. The level of resources required to meet those standards necessarily differs as well.

* The panelists consulted in each state make different decisions about how resources should be deployed.

* These panelists make different tradeoffs regarding the personnel required to educate at-risk, English Language Learners (ELL), or special-education students. …

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