Funding of public schools is a major issue in the education system in the United States. Over the years, the amount of money that is spent by states and the federal government has been on a constant increase. State and federal authorities continue to increase the funding based on the idea that more financial resources will translate into improved access to elementary and secondary education in the country. However, some research has created a belief that public schools are wasteful and that funding has little or no effect on the quality of learning in public schools (Lips & Watkins, 2008).This position has led to the lack of attention to the influence of finances on various aspects of education in schools. In this essay, I argue that school funding has a lot to do with quality education in American schools and, therefore, should be increased to improve quality standards.
Whereas evidence exists to the effect that money is not all that matters in education, results in performance of learners in schools where there is inadequate money for educational purposes indicate that small expenditures lead to poor outcomes. Money matters in the sense that those schools that receive more funding especially in poor districts across all states have a positive impact on the performance of these schools in regards to the standardized scores that assess the ability of learners to progress to the next level of study (Carey& Harris, 2016).Going by this finding, more money means that the chances of good performance of students from poor districts across the country is likely to increase.
The better performance is standardized scores for those schools that are adequately funded shows that learners in these schools have access to some services that are absent in deprived schools (Lafortune, Rothstein & Schanzenbach, 2015). Schools that have adequate funding are more likely to avail books and other learning materials to students. Some of these books contain much of the areas where the standardized tests are drawn. This enables the students to access books both in school and home environments (Carey& Harris, 2016). As a result, they record superior results in the standardized examinations. On the other hand, schools from underfunded districts do not have enough books that students use to prepare for examinations. Also, students from poor schools often fail to access textbooks that are used for instruction and revisions when they are off school premises as the few resources have to be shared among students, making it difficult for such learners to benefit from guidance from their parents in home settings (Turner et al., 2016). This makes them lag behind hence the poor show in general examinations.
A poor performance in schools exposes students to unfavorable situations that decrease their chances of becoming successful in life. For example, studies have shown that spending 10% more on a child studying in elementary and secondary located in poor communities has the effect of 10% percent increase of wages such learners get later in life while in employment (Carey & Harris, 2016).These positive outcomes is an indication that, when combined well with other factors, increased funding can give opportunities to students which, in turn, enhances their prospects of living a better life in future.
Quality outcomes in the education system imply unlimited access to quality learning and teachers. Schools that are located in impoverished districts have the problem of low quality of facilities. Notably, some have classrooms that are not insulated (Carey & Harris, 2016; Baker, 2016).An insulated classroom means that students learn under conditions that are not favorable for learning. Under extremely cold weather, for instance, student concentration in class may be disturbed. Additionally, the big sized of classes reduce direct and individual interaction between teachers and students. (Turner, 2016; Carey & Harris, 2016).As a result, learners in disadvantaged positions that make them lag behind compared to their counterparts in affluent districts.
The problem of teacher-student interaction is aggravated by the high turnover of teachers in poor districts. This is because experienced teachers are attracted to good packages which are offered in rich districts. When authorities allow districts and schools to recruit and retain a superior quality of workforce, then students learning at these facilities have an advantage over to those that lack the resources to retain experienced teachers (Baker, 2016).If high-quality workforce cannot be maintained in poor schools and districts, then chances of students interacting with the best teachers are minimized. When the retention of teachers is high, it enhances the chances of students interacting with quality teachers as well as minimizes disruptions that affect the vital relationship between teachers and students (Baker, 2016). At the same time, disruption of these relationships as a result of high turnover can affect the performance of learners negatively as students take a long time to come to terms with new recruits after a long spell with the departing teachers (Tuner et al., 2016).
Opponents of funding also fail to recognize the role of increased funding in mitigating structural issues such as economic inequality. Inequality affects many aspects of a students life to the extent that it influences the performance of such children in school. For example, Carey and Harris (2016) found that spending 10% more on learners that hail from districts that are not rich added six months of schooling. This suggests that more expenditure on the education of impoverished communities reduces dropout rates. As more time is spent on schooling, the more they are likely to benefit in the long run from school resources which are availed through more funding.
Poverty is an important aspect of inequality which affects learning outcomes in schools. Poverty in communities affects the performance of students in these areas in many ways. Again, opponents of increased spending fail to acknowledge the influence of poverty on the life of children in a holistic manner (Lafortune, Rothstein & Schanzenbach, 2015). Poor children have socioeconomic issues that affect their ability to learn outside the school environment. It is not debatable that wealthy families provide students with learning facilities such as the internet which assist them in reviewing what they learned in school thereby performing better (Carey & Harris, 2016).In contrast, poverty in poor communities affects performance in underfunded schools in the sense that schools have to step in to solve issues that have been created by deprivation (Turner et al., 2016).
One of the ways schools intervene is to ensure that basic needs that families fail to provide at home are met. An example of this intervention is the provision of the lunch programs in schools. Teachers have to ensure that such students have eaten and also provide other support that requires finances (Turner et al., 2016).Provision of basic needs as so essential that teachers often give them priorities over equipping schools with educational materials that students are supposed to use on a daily basis. For instance, expenditures on areas that intend to meet the basic needs of students reduce the number of financial resources that are channeled into buying learning materials such as textbooks (Turner et al., 2016; Carey & Harris, 2016). As a result of this, students lack the opportunity to access take-home texts which eventually affects their ability to do homework and self-review assignments.
The challenge with ascertaining the full extent of the effect of more funding in public schools is that states have varying ways of raising revenue for public schools (Carey & Harris, 2016. Many of the opponents of enhanced funding of public schools fail to recognize that there is limited nationally compiled data that highlights student performance which can be used to analyze the effect of federal funding so as to draw the real picture of the state of affairs (Lafortune, Rothstein & Schanzenbach, 2015).However, even at the state level, there are good examples. For instance, after the lawsuit in New Jersey that involved Abbott v. Burke, the states performance in addressing the performance of poor students through increased funding has received many praises for its success (Turner et al., 2016).
A higher amount of funding leads to significant positive outcomes in regards to the performance of learners in public schools. This is extremely important for impoverished communities. More financial resources to public schools enhance the ability of the schools to retain quality teachers. Enhanced funding also allows schools to buy learning materials that are used by students. Furthermore, funding helps to narrow the socioeconomic inequality gap. However, all these positive results are only possible if the funds are used for the right purposes. Overly, money matters in public schools.
Baker, B. D. (2016). Does Money Matter in Education? Retrieved from Albert Shanker Institute website: http://www.shankerinstitute.org/sites/shanker/files/moneymatters_edition2.pdf
Carey, K., & Harris, E. A. (2016). It Turns Out Spending More Probably Does Improve Education. The New York Times [New York].
Cobb-Clark, D. A., & Jha, N. (2016). Educational Achievement and the Allocation of School Resources. Australian Economic Review, 49(3), 251-271. doi:10.1111/1467-8462.12159
Lafortune, J., Rothstein, J., & Schanzenbach, D. W. (2015). School Finance Reform and the Distribution of Student Achievement. University of California, Berkeley. Retrieved from http://eml.berkeley.edu/~jrothst/workingpapers/LRS_schoolfinance_120215.pdf
Lips, D., & Watkins, S. (2008). Does Spending More on Education Improve Academic Achievement? Retrieved from http://www.heritage.org/education/report/does-spending-more-education-improve-academic-achievement
Turner, C., Mccorry, K., Worf, L., Gonzalez, S., & Karapezza, K. (2016). The School Spending Debate: What Difference Does A Dollar Make? Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2016/04/25/468157856/can-more-money-fix-americas-schools
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