Wed | Apr 24, 2024

Make education funding efficient and effective

Published:Saturday | March 2, 2024 | 12:07 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

I write this letter with reference to the article ‘More research emphasis needed in education sector for nat’l growth – Chang’, published in The Gleaner.

Funding is important in schools because several years of sustained spending ‘increases improved student outcomes’.

Investment in research (education) requires addressing how funding affects each student performance in public schools, so we can help achieve our economic growth.

Increases in underperforming student spending led to substantial improvements in reading and math achievement, resulted in grade repetition and the probability of suspensions and expulsions, and increased the likelihood of students graduating from high school and being college-ready. I do not think we are using the strategy of the “ funding formulas”, so we can fund each student that is underperforming, to improve their grades.

Education funding should be efficient and effective, focusing on returns on investment. Investors demand a return on their investment, so the only return we can offer them is to ensure that all students graduate on time.

So, since education raises the earnings and productivity of workers, it contributes to the overall economic growth. Evidence from cross-country (United States) comparisons generally supports the conclusion that education contributes to growth.

There are 35 states of the United States that have funding formulas that attempt to target low-income (poor-performing students). To understand how well their formulas achieve that goal, we measured whether poor students tend to be enrolled in districts (e.g. cities, towns, and counties) with higher or lower per-student funding levels than non-poor students. A positive difference indicates that a state which spends more on educating poor students is generally progressive.

Investing in education powers a country’s competitiveness. Research shows that investment in education is essential for our country’s short-term and long-term economic growth.

Thus, because of the size of our country, we may have limited resources, so research tends to be given a secondary role. However, we can be competitive if we use the strategy of the “funding formulas”, so all our students will graduate on time and be ready, willing, and able to work.

CARGILL KELLY