School Funding in New York State A stroll through one of the nation’s least equitable school finance systems Bruce D. Baker Rutgers University
National Perspective Which States are Most/Least Fair in their School Funding?
Funding Fairness across the U.S. Special update (with adjusted poverty measures)
New York Perspective Formulas that Undermine Equity and Adequacy
$991 Million $692 Million
Gap = $2,300 Gap = $1,100
Gap = $2,300 Gap = $1,100
Conceptual & Empirical Basis for the Foundation Formula & Implications for Adequacy Even if it was funded, it’s still screwed up!
What’s wrong with the Foundation Formula? • Generally bogus method • “Successful schools” analysis is not a real cost analysis method average (instructional) spending of some districts ≠ operating cost per pupil of others • Use of efficiency filter removes nearly all downstate districts • Adding back in the RCI doesn’t cover the difference • Assumes only instructional spending is necessary • SS model counts only average instructional spending per pupil. But foundation formula never adds back in the rest! • Uses deflated standards • Re-analysis & adjustment of math cut scores suggests that 95% level 3 or higher would have been more appropriate (closer to what 80% should have been)
Operational Definition of “Adequacy” …an adequate education was operationally defined as a district: With a simple, unweighted average of 80 percent of its test takers scoring at Level 3 or above on eight examinations (Fourth Grade English Language Arts, Fourth Grade Mathematics, high school Mathematics A, Global History, U.S. History, English, Living Environment and Earth Science) in 2005-06, 2006-07 and 2007-08. Note that, given this operational definition, a district could have less than 80 percent of its test takers with a score at Level 3 on one or more of the tests and still be providing an adequate education. 518 school districts met this standard, including: 6 High Need Urban/Suburban districts, 90 High Need Rural districts, 290 Average Need districts and 132 Low Need districts. (2009 Technical Final) http://www.oms.nysed.gov/faru/PDFDocuments/technical_2009.pdf
Adjusting Standards & Implications for Adequacy “We see that students with Regents Math A passing scores of 65 typically do not meet the CUNY cut-score for placement into college-level Mathematics courses. Indeed, these students may have only a little better than a 50-50 chance of earning a grade of “C” or higher in CUNY’s remedial Mathematics courses.” Everson, H.T. (2010) Memo to David Steiner: Relationship of Regents ELA and Math Scores to College Readiness Indicators. July 1, 2010
It would have taken a 95% pass rate with previous cut scores to equal an 80% pass rate after the adjustment! What that means is that “adequacy” should have been estimated with respect to a 95% pass rate. 95%, 80% 80%, 55% 60%, 30%
Percent of Successful Districts Included when Efficiency Filter is Applied(before & after adjusting for RCI & PNI) Most districts in these regions excluded when filter applied!
Statewide Average Instructional Expenditures per Pupil 2007-08*Adjusted for PNI and RCI & No Efficiency Filter Much Higher when Lower Half not Excluded *NYSED FARU Fiscal Profiles IE2% x Total Expenditures per Pupil 2007-08
Legitimate Cost Model Based on 2006-07 Performance Outcomes Estimated by William Duncombe, Syracuse U.
How STAR and Foundation Adjustments Drive Money to the Best Funded Districts
Consequences for Curriculum & Opportunities What are the ground level effects of these funding gaps/disparities?
Q1: Resource poor high performer Q2: Resource rich high performer Outcomes (relative to Mean) 0 Expected Values Q3: Resource rich low performer Q4: Resource poor low performer 0 Cost Adjusted per Pupil Expenditures (Standardized)
In Conclusion • NY remains one of the least equitably funded states in the nation • NY actually squanders a great deal of state financing on making things worse rather than better • Even if fully funded (a first step), the foundation aid formula is woefully inadequate for high need districts, based on bogus methods, bad assumptions and false measures. • The effects of inequitable funding can be seen at the ground level in the distribution of curricular opportunities & staff to deliver them.