Targeted funds do make a difference
Two of the most important contributions to the debate, from professors Goldstein and Mayston, and which attempted to put the issues on a firmer footing, were effectively left unanswered.
Unchallenged, the assertions of Professor Hanushek, and others, that resources have no signficant impact on educational performance are pernicious, even when stated in the anecdotal form adopted in the debate.
They neglect the evidence from this side of the Atlantic o the value and importance of properly-targeted increases in funding for specific purposes, such as those identified in Professor Peter Mortimore's work in the Institute of Education, on the importance of smaller class sizes in the early years.
It is a pity, given the planned increase in educational expenditure over the next few years, that the newly-constituted, and Department of Education and Employment-funded, CEE should have made this its first public contribution to this important debate.
The occasion might still provide the opportunity to challenge the DFEE to ensure that it acts upon the best and most up-to-date studies in this field.
Professor David Jesson
Centre for performance evaluation and resource management
Department of economics
University of York