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Noah Smith

More Money Really Does Make Schools Better

Poor kids are the ones who benefit the most.
Spending gets results.

Spending gets results.

Photographer: Scott Eisen/Bloomberg

It has become an article of faith among education reformers that throwing more money at public education doesn’t improve student performance. But a steady drumbeat of careful research studies is calling this into question. What if more money really does work?

The case against spending more on schools comes in two basic forms. One is to look at various U.S. states, and see whether the ones that spend more on education enjoy better outcomes. This has been done many times, with decidedly mixed results. Some studies show little state-by-state correlation between spending levels and educational performance, while others show a fairly substantial one.