Alfred A. Lindseth and Eric Hanushek argue in Educationnext that court-ordered funding increases to schools has not resulted in correlative increases in student achievement. (They’ve made the same argument in book-length form, Schoolhouses, Courthouses, and Statehouses: Solving the Funding-Achievement Puzzle in America’s Public Schools.) Therefore, a 40-year pattern of state courts mandating school funding increases is shifting to a more hands-off approach, and the authors use N.J.’s Abbott cases as a primary example, along with Kentucky, Kansas, and Wyoming.
Notwithstanding these dramatic spending increases, we found that student performance has languished. The unmistakable picture in each of these states is that during a decade or more of court funding mandates, student performance, as measured by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (commonly referred to as the “Nation’s report card”), has not measurably improved relative to other states that did not have anywhere near the same influx of new school money.