A report published in Education Next in 2017 found: “Nationwide, per-student K-12 education funding from all sources (local, state, and federal) is similar, on average, at the districts attended by poor students ($12,961) and non-poor students ($12,640)," a 2.5% difference in favor of poor students.
Unlike many other studies that exclude federal funding, this report examined funding at all three levels. Federal funding is primarily allocated to school districts with fewer resources.
Previous studies on school funding have come to similar conclusions, including those by the U.S. Department of Education (1996), Ph.D. economist Derek Neal (2006), the Urban Institute (2008), and the Heritage Foundation (2011).
Research published by the Brookings Institution in 2017 found that “on average, poor and minority students receive between 1-2 percent more resources than non-poor or white students in their districts, equivalent to about $65 per pupil.”
A 2010 CATO Institute policy analysis compared public school spending to "estimated total expenditures in local private schools."
According to the analysis, oft-cited public school spending figures "leave out major costs of education and thus understate what is actually spent."
"We find that, in the areas studied, public schools are spending 93 percent more than the estimated median private school," the analysis revealed.
"A sobering 27 cents of every dollar collected at the state or local level is consumed by the government-run K–12 education system," the paper says.
A 2006 report from the National Center for Education Statistics examined "differences in mean National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reading and mathematics scores between public and private schools" for grades 4 and 8.
The report found, "In grades 4 and 8 for both reading and mathematics, students in private schools achieved at higher levels than students in public schools. The average difference in school means ranged from almost 8 points for grade 4 mathematics, to about 18 points for grade 8 reading. The average differences were all statistically significant."
Researchers also adjusted the comparisons for various student and school characteristics, including "gender, race/ethnicity, disability status, and identification as an English language learner."
With the adjustments, "the average for public schools was significantly higher than the average for private schools for grade 4 mathematics, while the average for private schools was significantly higher than the average for public schools for grade 8 reading. The average differences in adjusted school means for both grade 4 reading and grade 8 mathematics were not significantly different from zero," the report says.
A paper published in The Quarterly Journal of Economics in 2011 studied the effects of "attending a first-choice middle or high school on adult crime, using data from public school choice lotteries in Charlotte-Mecklenburg school district (CMS)."
The paper found:
In 2016, EdChoice, a school choice advocacy organization, published a comprehensive review of studies evaluating the effects of school choice across a wide variety of outcomes.
Of the 18 empirical studies examining "academic outcomes for school choice participants using random assignment, the gold standard of social science":
Of the 33 empirical studies examining "school choice’s effect on students’ academic outcomes in public schools":
Of the 28 empirical studies examining "school choice’s fiscal impact on taxpayers and public schools":
Of the 10 empirical studies examining "school choice and racial segregation in schools":
Of the 11 empirical studies examining "school choice’s effect on civic values and practices, such as respect for the rights of others and civic knowledge":