28 Harv. J. on Legis. 465 (1991)
Paying for Public Education: New Evidence on How and Why Money Matters

handle is hein.journals/hjl28 and id is 471 raw text is: PAYING FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION: NEW
EVIDENCE ON HOW AND WHY MONEY
MATTERS
RONALD F. FERGUSON*
Allocating resources efficiently and equitably in public pri-
mary and secondary schools has been an elusive goal. Among
the primary reasons is the surprising scarcity of data appropriate
for establishing the relative importance of various schooling
inputs. As a result, recent research to discover how increasing
spending might affect the quality of schooling and how improv-
ing the quality of schooling might affect how much children
learn has reanalyzed old data or has  relied on data sets that are
very limited in size and scope. Generally, aside from a few
exceptions that this Article cites, the findings -of such studies
have been ambiguous and unpersuasive.
Breaking the usual pattern, the analysis here examines a large
and unusually complete set of data that the author has assembled
for the state of Texas. The data include a wide range of indices
for almost 900 districts, in which over 2.4 million students attend
school.' This Article addresses (1) determinants of student test
scores, (2) factors that influence which districts attract the most
effective teachers, and (3) how and why money matters. Overall,
empirical results here reveal a complex pattern but one that is
more consistent with conventional wisdom among educators
than the findings of most past studies. The study has implica-
tions for all states that are working to bring quality and equity
to public education.
Evidence presented here shows that differences in the quality
of schooling account for between one quarter and one third of
the variation among Texas school districts in students' scores
* Associate Professor of Public Policy, John F. Kennedy School of Government, and
Faculty Research Associate, Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy, Harvard Uni-
versity. Financial support for this project is provided by the Meadows Foundation of
Dallas Texas and the Rockefeller Foundation. Marian Vaillant has provided excellent
research assistance. The views expressed in this Article are the author's and do not
necessarily reflect those of the project's sponsors, the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social
Policy, or Harvard University.
IThe text of the Article is written to be accessible to readers with no technical
training. However, the Appendix has statistical tables that report results from multiple
regression estimates. Readers interested in more technical and complete reports of this
material should write to the author.

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