Such is the crux of Phil Krinkie's mini rant today in the St. Cloud Times:
Dubbed "the New Minnesota Miracle" — referring to a major change to K-12 funding in the early 1970s labeled the "Minnesota Miracle" — it proposes to increase state funding of K-12 education by a whopping $2.6 billion per year according to the State Department of Education. That amounts to a 37 percent annual increase.
Krinkie goes on to provide the classic conservative meme:
That being said, study after study shows there is no direct correlation between education spending and test results.
Additionally, if there is no "direct correlation" might there be so many indirect correlations as to make increased funding an invaluable tool for improving education? Certainly, more money does not guarantee success but it is a fallacy to believe that money cannot then EVER bring success. Krinkie and his conservative brethren define success through the most narrow scope of success. That scope being through standardized testing. They fail to consider the successes money generates when it creates an after school program that will keep a kid feeling safe and secure from the streets. They fail to consider the successes that come from expensive technologies that open the eyes of a student who doesn't particularly do well in those standardized test types of classes. They fail to consider that money provides time and money provides resources that can oftentimes create positive yet intangible results.
There is more to education than money and there is even more to education than testing but I can tell you this, without testing we could spend a lot more time really educating but without money education becomes significantly more difficult.
By the by, Mr. Krinkie, I found a study that runs counter to your particular claim. While it is not a silver bullet, I would like to point out that I have thus far provided ONE study supporting my claims while you have provided ZERO:
Of course, it's absolutely true that equal funding doesn't erase the acheivement gap on its own. But that doesn't mean money doesn't matter. A new study released (PDF) by the Illinois-based Center for Tax and Budget Accountability divides schools into three distinct categories based on their local property wealth:And what does the research show? Academic performance -- measured by data from the Illinois State Achievement Test -- is "strongly correlated" with mild increases (between $1,000-$2,200) in spending on instruction. The academic growth is evident in both school districts with low poverty (3-8 percent low income rates) and significant poverty (27-32 percent low income rates).
- "Flat Grant" districts, which have the greatest amount of available local property wealth.
- "Alternative Formula" districts, which have the second greatest amount of available property wealth.
- "Foundation Formula" districts, which have available local property wealth that ranges from very low to just above average.
While the study examines Illinois specifically, there is little reason to believe that the evidence would not hold true here in Minnesota.