Is This Commission Really Necessary?

Is This Commission Really Necessary?
March 1, 2001

Among the many executive orders hurriedly issued by outgoing President Bill Clinton in the waning days of his administration was a January 15 order establishing a new Commission on Educational Resource Equity.

Clinton charged the Commission to submit a report to Congress and the new President by August 31, 2001. The report is to include:

  • "an analysis of the status of resource equity in education";
  • "how resource gaps in education affect the success of individuals and our Nation"
  • an "examination of the effectiveness of targeted Federal resources toward disadvantaged students"; and
  • "a summary of best practices and short- and long-term recommendations for local, state, and Federal officials."

But, as Jeanne Allen, president of the Center for Education Reform, pointed out, "an overwhelming amount of research and literature" already exists on those issues. Since the Bush administration might want to put its resources to more productive uses, she noted the information the Commission was asked to provide already is available from the following brief bibliography:

Hanushek, Eric A. "School Resources and Student Performance." In Does Money Matter? The Effect of School Resources on Student Achievement and Adult Success, G. Burtless, editor. Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution, 1996. http://www.brook.edu/pub/booknote/schools.htm 

Hanushek, Eric A. Making Schools Work: Improving Performance and Controlling Costs. Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution, 1994. http://www.brook.edu/savingsforthepoor/schlswrk.htm

Hill, Paul T., Christine Campbell, and James Harvey, with Paul Herdman, Janet Looney, Lawrence Pierce, Carol Reed, and Abigail Winger. It Takes a City: Getting Serious about Urban School Reform. Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution, 2000. http://brookings.nap.edu/books/0815736398/html/index.html

Hoxby, Caroline Minter. "All School Finance Equalizations Are Not Created Equal." Working paper available from the Taubman Center's Program on Education Policy and Governance, Harvard, Kennedy School of Government, 1998.

Ravitch, Diane. "National Standards." In American Education. Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution, 1995. See especially "Achievement: A Review of the Evidence," pages 59-97.

Dispelling the Myth: High Poverty Schools Exceeding Expectations. The Education Trust. http://www.edtrust.org/main/reports.asp