Public* Goods & the Money Belongs to the Child Fallacy (in tweets)


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*Education, or public schooling (public school systems) in particular is not typically considered a “public good” as the provision of public schooling does not comply with the definition of a “pure public good” which can be equally accessed by all, without reduction in benefits to any.  The intent here (in the above tweet-storm) was to shed some light on the importance of understanding the role/position of these publicly financed education systems in society and that there’s more to these systems than the year to year provision of “schooling” to those who happen to be school aged in a specific community at a specific point in time.

Published by schoolfinance101

Bruce Baker is an Professor in the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. From 1997 to 2008 he was a professor at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, KS. He is lead author with Preston Green (Penn State University) and Craig Richards (Teachers College, Columbia University) of Financing Education Systems, a graduate level textbook on school finance policy published by Merrill/Prentice-Hall. Professor Baker has written a multitude of peer reviewed research articles on state school finance policy, teacher labor markets, school leadership labor markets and higher education finance and policy. His recent work has focused on measuring cost variations associated with schooling contexts and student population characteristics, including ways to better design state school finance policies and local district allocation formulas (including Weighted Student Funding) for better meeting the needs of students. Baker, along with Preston Green of Penn State University are co-authors of the chapter on Conceptions of Equity in the recently released Handbook of Research Education Finance and Policy, and co-authors of the chapter on the Politics of Education Finance in the Handbook of Education Politics and Policy and co-authors of the chapter on School Finance in the Handbook of Education Policy of the American Educational Research Association. Professor Baker has also consulted for state legislatures, boards of education and other organizations on education policy and school finance issues and has testified in state school finance litigation in Kansas, Missouri and Arizona. He is a member of the Think Tank Review Panel, a group of academic researchers who conduct technical reviews of publicly released think tank reports on education policy issues.

3 thoughts on “Public* Goods & the Money Belongs to the Child Fallacy (in tweets)

  1. What definition of public good are you working with here? The standard definition that economists use for public good would include fire protection for a city as a public good but exclude education because it does not meet the definition.

    1. appreciate the clarification, and would have written “quasi” (as per roads) or some more nuanced explanation (to account for exclusion, benefits reduced from congestion, etc.), but for the limitations of the initial exchange occurring on twitter.

      my intent was merely to point out that publicly funded education systems are more complex than mere current year subsidies to eligible children. again… all via twitter.

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