Is the 'Evidence-Based Approach' a Good Guide to School Finance Policy?

Eric A. Hanushek
Published Date
Paper commissioned by Washington Learns
Washington, like many other states, is struggling with the twin problems of how to improve its schools and how to finance them. As recognized in the establishment of Washington Learns, perhaps no policy issue is more important for the future of the State of Washington. To aid in answering these questions, Picus and Associates have prepared a report for the K-12 Advisory Committee of Washington Learns. This report utilizes their “evidence-based approach” (Odden, Picus, Goetz, and Fermanich (2006)) [OPGF]. Unfortunately, were Washington to implement these recommendations, there is little reason to expect student achievement to improve measurably. The only outcome that could be expected with any certainty is that expenditures would dramatically increase. Moreover, their recommendations would make Washington schools substantially less efficient in their operations and perhaps make them less prone to change.