Friday, December 12, 2008

Report: Parental choice and quality education can go together

From the Buckeye Institute:


COLUMBUS – Adoption of a student-centered school funding system will ensure all children across Ohio have the same educational opportunities, according to a report issued today by the Buckeye Institute. Such a system will make the differences in local resources for education funding largely irrelevant. In addition, the proposed funding system would not require additional resources and could result in an overall tax dollar savings.

The report is available online here.

“Directly funding school systems is not the same as educating children,” Buckeye Institute President David Hansen said. “A child-centered school finance policy that supports the choices of parents can create higher-quality schools and more equality in the educational opportunities available to children.”

“Public schools are nominally ‘free,’ but pricing, which implicitly occurs through housing markets, fundamentally limits access to better schools and consigns less wealthy families to less desirable schools,” report author and Buckeye Institute Fellow Brian Gottlob said. “The subsequent separation of students along class lines also means that the non-financial inputs critical to good schools, such as peer and family influences, can be even more unevenly distributed than financial resources.”

Gottlob’s research found unequal distribution of opportunity remains even when state aid is targeted at the “neediest” schools. He concluded state money that simply equalizes financial resources between school districts will have limited effects on the root causes of education inequities.

The report outlines an alternative approach that seeks to overcome the limits of past attempts to equalize opportunities. It investigates the combined policies of school choice (in public, charter, and private schools) with financial support that follows the child. The report also focuses on the mechanics and implementation issues of such a system, and demonstrates its fiscal impacts.

Specifically, the report does the following:

* Highlights the need for reform of Ohio’s school finance system;
* Documents Ohio’s level of financial support and compares it to other states;
* Discusses the role of property taxes in funding schools;
* Outlines the basic structure of a child-centered school finance system;
* Presents a basic weighted system of per-pupil financial support and creates a matrix of students in Ohio schools to estimate the expenditures required to fund each child under a child-centered finance system;
* Presents a model to calculate the expenditures required to fund a child-centered system at different levels of per-pupil financial support and under various policy choices;
* Analyzes the implications for property taxes within communities under different policy choices within a child-centered funding system; and
* Estimates how much money businesses and individuals would contribute towards the education of deserving, students after the introduction of a tax credit for donations to scholarship-granting organizations.

The Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions is a nonpartisan research and educational institute devoted to individual liberty, economic freedom, personal responsibility and limited government in Ohio.

1 comment:

Mad Jack said...

Thanks for the post, Maggie. This seems to be an excellent study, although I haven't had time to read the whole thing.

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