Education and Economic Growth: Investment and Distribution of Financial Resources
300 pages 19 chapters
Library of Congress Control Number: 2008932476
Published August 2008, Paperback
Kern Alexander holds postgraduate degrees from the University of Oxford, Pembroke College and Indiana University, Bloomington. Dr. Alexander is Excellence Professor of Educational Administration at the University of Illinois, Urbana/Champaign. He is editor of the Journal of Education Finance, published by the University of Illinois. Earlier in his career he served as Professor of Educational Administration at the University of Florida for two decades, University Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech, President of Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green and, later, as President of Murray State University, Murray, Kentucky. He is the author or co-author of several books, including American Public School Law, now in Seventh Edition, West-Wadsworth Publishers: The Law of Schools, Students and Teachers, West Publishing Company; and Public School Finance, Allyn and Bacon. Dr. Alexander takes an active part in school finance planning and litigation.
Table of Contents
PART I INVESTMENT
1 “The Value of Education” by Kern Alexander
2 “The Economic History of School Finance in the U.S.” by Charles S. Benson and Kevin O’Halloran
3 “The Human Capital Approach to Education” by Theodore W. Schultz
4 “The Value of Investment in Education: Theory, Evidence, and Policy” by George Psacharopoulos
5 “The Social and Economic Externalities of Education” by J. Ronnie Davis
6 “Education Finance Policy: Financing the Nonmarket and Social Benefits” by Walter W. McMahon
7 “Education and Economic Growth” by Mary Jean Bowman
8 “Taxpayer Constraints on Financing Education” by James M. Buchanan
9 “The Economics of Education on Judgment Day” by Clive R. Belfield and Henry M. Levin
PART II DISTRIBUTION
10 “Concepts of Equity in School Finance” by Kern Alexander
11 “An Inquiry into the Normative Foundations of American Public School Finance” by James Gordon Ward
12 “Warranting Failure: The ‘System’ That Breeds Poverty and Starves Public Schools” by Kern Alexander and Richard G. Salmon
13 “Achieving Equity and Effectiveness in Schooling” by Richard A. Rossmiller
14 “The New School Finance: Providing Adequacy and Improving Equity” by Allan Odden
15 “Are America’s Poorest Children Receiving Their Share of Federal Education Funds? School-Level Title I Funding in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago” by Carolyn A. Brown
16 “Adequate Funding of Education Programs for At-Risk Children: An Econometric Application of Research-Based Cost Differentials” by Kern Alexander and Andrew Wall
17 “Has Adequacy Been Achieved? A Study of Finances and Costs a Decade after Court-Ordered Reform” by Deborah A. Verstegen
18 “Fiscal Equity Litigation and the Democratic Imperative” by Michael A. Rebell
19 “Financing the New Adequacy: Towards New Models of State Education Finance Systems That Support Standards-Based Reform by Deborah A. Verstegen
As the title indicates, this book is about the reasonable or intelligent public investment in education as a cornerstone of the nation’s economic growth and it is also about the importance of justness of distribution of public resources.
This book is primarily a selection of writings by scholars who have published articles in the Journal of Education Finance that give a good view of the various issues that pertain to obtaining of a public school system of fairness and justice. The first group of articles brings slightly varying perspectives regarding investment followed by more concentrated discussions of the adequacy of funding of public schools.
The Journal of Education Finance has been published for thirty-three years and over that long period many outstanding articles have been published. The nineteen chapters of this book were chosen because of their presentations of particular perspectives on the questions of economic efficiency of the state and individual and the basic question of distributional fairness. Important to the book is the idea that the public school as a social institution carries a huge weight of redressing the poverty that is visited upon the underclass in American society that survives and perpetuates. The cycle of poverty that is woven into the social and economic conditions by the rush of a self-interested private sector as it functions in a largely unregulated competitive marketplace. Underlying the articles in this book is, therefore, a certain obvious worth of preference for the importance of a public policy that redistributes the resources of society to the least advantaged.
The chapters are arranged into Parts I and II. Part I sets forth the arguments underlying the idea that education is an investment in knowledge of the people which is the catalyst, indeed the condition precedent, for economic growth of any nation. In this section, the chapters convey the economic perspective of human capital development as advanced by T.W. Schultz which became a new area of economic thought and earned him the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1978. The articles were all published by the Journal of Education Finance or by its precursor The National Education Finance Project.
The publication dates of the articles range from 1971 to 2007 and capture the flavor of economical and educational rationale for public funding for public education as the engine for production of human capital. Part II is devoted to considerations of equity of distribution within the system of public schools. Fairness to individuals requires that the funding of education be divided among the recipients in a way that not only comports with standards of decency, justness and nondiscrimination, but is distributed in a manner that maximizes utility to the state or nation. While this book does not dwell on the importance of utility, suffice it to say that injustice in the internal distribution of public fiscal resources for schools will unavoidably result in an aggregate loss of economic growth and in an overall loss of happiness of the people.
In this light, the inadequate provision of fiscal resources for the schools will have a corresponding and corollary effect of diminishing both efficiency and equity in society. Thus, Parts I and II delve to the heart of the importance of public education for economic development and growth of the individual and the nation.
Chapters in Part I provide a thorough discussion of the rationale behind governmental decisions to increasingly invest in education. Essential to this logic and on which the other chapters are dependent is the quantification of the economic worth of education pursuant to the T.W. Schultz reasoning, and its progeny.
Part II deals with the issue of justice in the allocation of public resources and the desirability of impartiality. Authors of these chapters are all school finance authorities who have worked with legislatures in devising state public school funding formulas and have in many cases served as expert witnesses in litigation challenging state methods of distribution of tax resources. Some of the chapters have been edited to reduce their length and to emphasize relevant issues regarding public school finance today.
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Journal of Education Finance