Around the world, schools are overwhelmingly controlled and operated by governments, and governmental policies directly affect much of what goes on in schools. The financing of schools has traditionally been addressed from two different perspectives. For the longest period, the central issues have revolved around how money for schools is raised and how it is distributed to local schools. These issues fit naturally into the policy debates around where a society's resources should be invested, along with the related question of how much is spent on schools. Over the past half century, however, a second perspective has entered into the debates,
namely, how student performance relates to the financing of schools. This latter perspective has dramatically shifted the policy discussions about school finance. It has also made it clear that finance discussions cannot be separated from broader educational policy discussions because it is important to integrate finance incentives with other policies designed to improve achievement.