New Book Review: Jay Greene Reviews Marguerite Roza’s Educational Economics

Now available on the Ed Next website, Jay Greene’s review of Marguerite Roza’s new-ish book, Educational Economics: Where Do School Funds Go?

Jay calls Marguerite Roza “the Indiana Jones of school finance,” since she “uncovers the hidden caves and tunnels that store the treasure of the public school system. Revealing where the money goes requires intrepid sleuthing, detailed analysis, and occasionally braving hostile natives.”

He writes,

The main finding of Roza’s explora­tions is that education dollars are allo­cated in ways that are sharply at odds with the stated priorities of public school systems. Education leaders say they want to devote greater funding to low-income students, but within most school dis­tricts per-pupil spending is higher at schools with more-advantaged students. Education leaders say they want to focus resources on the core subjects of math, reading, history, and science, but per-pupil spending tends to be much higher for electives, extracurricular activities, and sports. Education leaders say they want to emphasize remedial instruction to help lagging students catch up, but in most school districts per-pupil spend­ing is significantly greater for Advanced Placement (AP) and gifted classes than for remedial ones.

In the rest of the review, Jay looks at what causes this misallocation of resources and why “such blatantly contradictory spending patterns” are allowed to persist.

In 2009, Ed Next published an article by Marguerite Roza, “Breaking Down School Budgets: Following the dollars into the classroom,” that contains some of the findings that appear in the book.

Last Updated


Notify Me When Education Next

Posts a Big Story

Business + Editorial Office

Program on Education Policy and Governance
Harvard Kennedy School
79 JFK Street, Cambridge, MA 02138
Phone (617) 496-5488
Fax (617) 496-4428

For subscription service to the printed journal
Phone (617) 496-5488

Copyright © 2024 President & Fellows of Harvard College