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Volume 11, Number 3
May/June 1995

Money Matters Here

Programs That Work


Proponents of school choice, privatization, and merit pay for teachers like to apply market analogies to schools. The fairness of such analogies is open to question, but at least two basic ideas from economics seem to make sense when applied to schooling: you have to invest wisely, and you have to commit sufficient resources to your enterprise to reap a significant return.

Robert Felner of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has studied schools in several states to figure out how and when additional funding and new programs make a difference. His findings reflect a strange reality in the mathematics of school finance: one plus zero usually equals zero, but one plus ten can equal eleven, twelve, or even more. "It's nonlinear," says Felner. "There are a lot of changes schools can make that probably don't matter much individually, but put them together and they matter a lot."

Guiding Success

The Indiana School Guidance and Counseling Leadership Project illustrates Felner's idea in practice. Now in its third year, the project is geared to raising the aspirations and achievement levels of middle and high school students.

This is an excerpt from the Harvard Education Letter. Subscribers can click here to continue reading this article.


For Further Information

For Further Information

Indiana School Guidance and Counseling Leadership Program. David Dotson, MDC, Inc., 1717 Legion Rd., P.O. Box 2226, Chapel Hill, NC 27514.

New Visions Schools and Project FIRST, Fund for New York City Public Education, 96 Morton St., 6th Floor, New York, NY 10011-3326.

J. Ruskus et al. How Chapter 2 Operates at the Federal, State, and Local Levels. Menlo Park, CA: SRI International, 1994. Available from the ERIC Clearinghouse (ED371490).