Toward a Unified Conception of Equity, Equal Opportunity, and Adequacy

Below is an excerpt from my 2018 book Educational Inequality and School Finance . In many ways, I think this one passage is among the most important in the entire book. Below, I’ve bolded a few sections I think are especially important. This passage builds on a chapter Preston Green and I wrote for theContinue reading “Toward a Unified Conception of Equity, Equal Opportunity, and Adequacy”

What does research say about Charter – District School Spending Differences?

Many of us are frequently bombarded with claims that district schools have a huge revenue and spending advantage over charter schools, and those claims are almost always cited to the same series of junk comparisons produced by the University of Arkansas Department of Education Reform. The authors of those reports would have everyone else believeContinue reading “What does research say about Charter – District School Spending Differences?”

School Finance 101: Methods for comparing school site spending (and correctly making charter school comparisons)

School finance researchers have been evaluating and comparing district- and school-level expenditures for decades, drawing largely on regression-based approaches which account for differences in needs and costs across settings, districts and schools.[i] With charter schools introduced into the mix over the past several decades, researchers have extended those methods to study differences in spending betweenContinue reading “School Finance 101: Methods for comparing school site spending (and correctly making charter school comparisons)”

School Finance 101: Child Poverty and State School Finance Formulas

There are days when I’m perplexed at how far we have NOT come in understanding (and conveying in policy circles) why we include measures of poverty and other student needs, along with a variety of “cost” factors in state school finance formulas. The theory and academic literature on this topic are well developed.[1] Some stateContinue reading “School Finance 101: Child Poverty and State School Finance Formulas”

Charter Schooling in the Post-Espinoza & Fulton Era

Charter schooling is at a critical juncture and the future of charter schooling across US states can take either of two vastly different paths. On the one hand, charter schooling could become increasingly private, more overtly religious, openly discriminatory and decreasingly transparent to voters, taxpayers and the general public.  On the other hand, charter schoolingContinue reading “Charter Schooling in the Post-Espinoza & Fulton Era”

Time to Tax the Churches!

On June 30th 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court determined that if a state has a program of providing public financing for private entities to provide educational services, that program cannot exclude from participation any institution simply because that institution is religious (see Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue). The decision involved a taxpayer financed tuitionContinue reading “Time to Tax the Churches!”

Filling our Nation’s Funding Gaps

Mark Weber, Matt Di Carlo and I have a new report, with data and visualizations available over at For that project, we take advantage of two major data sources to estimate a “cost model” for public school districts in the United States – specifically with the goal of estimating the per pupil costs (spending,Continue reading “Filling our Nation’s Funding Gaps”

A few thoughts on School Funding and Pandemic Relief

I keep getting asked the same questions regarding my thoughts on the current stimulus proposals for schools. So here’s a quick attempt at summarizing my thoughts. The pandemic has had at least three different types of effects on school funding, which in turn, require specific, separate policy responses. First, the pandemic has highlighted the needContinue reading “A few thoughts on School Funding and Pandemic Relief”

Getting School Finance Indicators Right

Our data and reports can be found at: A few years back, Mark Weber and I decided (for a variety of reasons) that we needed to regain control over our school finance indicators work. We needed to find competent collaborators who would support our desire to continuously improve the quality and integrity of theContinue reading “Getting School Finance Indicators Right”

Fixing Connecticut School Finance: The Time is Now

 with Rob Cotto Jr. & Preston Green III Also available at: The COVID pandemic has laid bare the extent of inequalities across Connecticut’s cities, towns and school districts and the children and families they serve. Connecticut has long been one of our nation’s most racially and economically segregated states, while also one of theContinue reading “Fixing Connecticut School Finance: The Time is Now”