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Working Paper

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In this article, we offer an empirical rejoinder to the oft-told story that large urban districts, like Philadelphia, are inefficient. We situate our study during the very short period in Pennsylvania’s recent history when efforts were dedicated to addressing the inequitable distribution of resources through a fair funding formula and to increasing the amount of resources available for education spending. Even in the presence of a funding formula, school districts like Philadelphia (SDP) with its large percentage of low-income students and English language learners were disproportionately burdened. Unsurprisingly, the SDP, like many districts across the nation, did not receive sufficient resources to educate its students. However, we find that contrary to conventional wisdom, SDP did more per pupil with the resources at its disposal than the average peer district in terms of student poverty and achievement.



Date Posted: 26 March 2015