More Resources on Costing Out Studies

Courtroom Alchemy – Education Next:

We reviewed results from professional judgment studies in eight states released from 2001 to 2003. All eight studies were conducted by Augenblick & Myers, Inc. (A&M) or Augenblick Palaich & Associates, Inc. (APA). [Who conducted the Pennsylvania study]. …

Projected numbers for instructional personnel vary significantly, even when the contexts are similar. For example, professional judgment panels in Maryland estimated, on average, that elementary schools need 116 instructional personnel per 1,000 regular students to meet state standards. Nebraska elementary schools require 90 instructional personnel per 1,000 regular students, whereas Montana only needs 75 instructors.

Unjustified variances such as those displayed in Figure 2 suggest, at a minimum, that there is no science involved in such estimations.

The Alchemy of “Costing Out” an Adequate Education – Education Working Paper:

In response to the rapid rise in court cases related to the adequacy of school funding, a variety of alternative methods have been developed to provide an analytical base about the necessary expenditure on schools. These approaches have been titled to give an aura of a thoughtful and solid scientific basis: the professional judgment model, the state-of-the-art approach, the successful schools method, and the cost function approach. Unfortunately, none can provide a reliable and unbiased answer to the question ‘how much do adequate schools cost?’ Each is highly manipulable, generally satisfying the interested party commissioning the work to be done but not meeting the fundamental tenets of scientific inquiry. …