The Roles of State Aid and Local Conditions in Elementary School Test-Score Gaps The Roles of State Aid and Local Conditions in Elementary School Test-Score Gaps

Equal educational opportunity is a core American value. Yet many children of low-income or minority racial status attend public schools that are lower quality compared with those that high-income children or white children attend. And data indicate that, on average, low-income or minority children score lower on states’ elementary-school accountability tests compared with higher-income children or white children. Such test-score gaps serve as evidence of unequal educational opportunity.

Students’ educational achievement and test scores depend on a host of influences. Using variation among school districts and among metropolitan areas in the size of the gaps between test scores for students of different races and between test scores for students who are economically disadvantaged and those who are not, this paper builds on earlier research to investigate the roles of state school aid, geographic segregation by race or income, and other school, parental, and community characteristics in public-school outcomes.

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