Money and School Performance. Lessons from the Kansas City Desegregation Experiment. Policy Analysis No. 298.Report as inadecuate

Money and School Performance. Lessons from the Kansas City Desegregation Experiment. Policy Analysis No. 298. - Download this document for free, or read online. Document in PDF available to download.

To improve the education of black students and to encourage desegregation, a federal judge ordered the Kansas City (Missouri) school district to come up with a cost-is-no-object educational plan and ordered local and state taxpayers to find the money to pay for it. Kansas City spent as much as $11,700 per pupil, more money per pupil on a cost of living adjusted basis than any other of the 280 largest school districts in the country. The money paid for higher teachers' salaries, 15 new schools, and such amenities as an Olympic-sized swimming pool, television studios, a robotics laboratory, a wildlife sanctuary and zoo, a model United Nations, and field trips to Mexico and Senegal. The student-teacher ratio became 12 or 13 to 1, the lowest of any major school district in the country. In spite of all of this, achievement test scores did not rise, the gap between black and white students did not narrow, and there was less, rather than more, integration. The experiment in Kansas City suggests that educational problems cannot be solved by throwing money at them. The structural problems of the educational system are far more than a lack of material resources. In Kansas City the focus on desegregation diverted attention from the real problem of low academic achievement. Similar things are occurring in Sausalito (California), where the affluent school system is still not enough to bring about high achievement. (SLD)

Descriptors: Academic Achievement, Black Students, Court Litigation, Desegregation Effects, Desegregation Plans, Educational Finance, Educational Improvement, Elementary Secondary Education, Expenditures, Resource Allocation, School Desegregation, School District Wealth, Urban Schools

Cato Institute, 1000 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20001; phone: 202-842-0200; fax: 202-842-3490 ($6; $3 for five or more copies).

Author: Ciotti, Paul


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