Follow up to Nesi's Notes Guest Post: Woonsocket School Funding

July 12, 2012

Ted Nesi was gracious in offering me a guest spot on his blog, Nesi’s Notes this week to discuss education funding in Woonsocket. The main conclusions of my post are:

​1. Woonsocket has not increased local funding for education over the last fifteen years despite massive increases in education expenditures in Rhode Island and nationwide.

​2. General education aid from the state has rapidly increased over the same period, demonstrating that a lack of sufficient revenue at Woonsocket Public Schools is first, if not exclusively, a local revenue problem.

I wanted to provide three additional bits of information on my personal blog.

First, I want to outline some analyses that I have not done that I think are critical to understanding education funding in Woonsocket. I will also describe more completely what conclusions cannot be drawn from the analysis on Nesi’s Notes.

Second, I want to discuss the legal context of school funding in Rhode Island. This is especially interesting since Pawtucket and Woonsocket are both currently suing the state for additional funds for the second time. I am going to review what happened the first time these communities brought their fight for education aid to the courthouse and explain why I believe this strategy will fail once again.

Third, I want to provide instructions on precisely how I retrieved the data and created the graphs in that post. I am a firm believer in “reproducible research”, so I want to be entirely transparent on my data sources and methods. I also think that too few people are acquainted with the Common Core Data provided by the National Center for Education Statistics that I relied on exclusively for my guest blog. Hopefully these instructions will help more concerned citizens and journalists in Rhode Island use data to back up assertions about local education.

Please reserve your comments on my original posts for Nesi’s Notes. I have disabled comments on this post, because I would like to keep the comments on the original analysis contained in one place. Feel free to comment on each of the follow up posts.