Wednesday, May 18, 2016
Income-achievement gaps now far surpass racial-achievement gaps
A key strategy to improving educational outcomes and closing achievement gaps for children from low-income families is improving state finance systems to ensure equitable funding and increased access to resources, according to a new study from Educational Testing Service (ETS).
The report, “Mind the Gap: 20 Years of Progress and Retrenchment in School Funding, Staffing Resources & Achievement Gaps,” was commissioned by ETS and written by Bruce D. Baker, Rutgers University and Danielle Farrie and David G. Sciarra of the Education Law Center of New Jersey.
Using over twenty years of National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) data on revenue and expenditures for schools, the authors explore the relationship between substantive and sustained school finance reforms and improved student outcomes. They focus on income inequality — specifically child poverty — for evaluating gaps in those educational resources and outcomes.
In the report, the authors study several factors including what they defined as human resources; pupil to teacher ratios, average class sizes and teacher wages as they relate to quality.
“What we are able to show is that across the nation, over the past decade and a half in particular, states with lower pupil to teacher ratios and fairer distribution of staffing tend to have both higher outcomes among low-income children and small achievement gaps between children from low-income and non-low income families,” Baker says. “We also have evidence that states in which teacher wages are more competitive have smaller achievement gaps and higher scores for children from lower income families.”