Abstract

To address gaps in achievement between more- and less-affluent students, states and districts need to ensure that high-poverty students and schools have equitable access to educational resources. Traditionally, assessments of resource equity have focused on per-pupil expenditures and more proximal inputs, such as teacher credentials and class size, despite the inconsistent and/or weak relationships between these measures and student performance. Given the sizable and direct effects of teachers on student achievement, we argue that (1) teachers’ value-added scores should be incorporated into assessments of resource equity and (2) providing schools with greater flexibility for setting salaries or using strategic staffing initiatives may be necessary to achieve an equitable distribution of effective teachers. To illustrate these assertions we incorporate teacher value added into a case study of resource allocation in the public high schools of Wayne County, North Carolina, which have been the target of a complaint by the North Carolina National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

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