Focusing on closing the resource gap in education is important as a mechanism to close the outcomes gap. Possibly the greatest flaw of the outcomes focused accountability regime of the last 20+ years was trying to eliminate the idea that changing inputs changes outcomes.

Of course outcomes matter! Of course the goal of equitable resources in education is to build systems that result in equitable outcomes! But the feedback loop has not been, “Our system provides inequitable resources, then provides inequitable services, and the result is inequitable outcomes.”

Instead, the feedback loop has been “Our system produces inequitable outcomes, you should change how you provide inequitable or ineffective or inefficient services.”

I am the first person to tell you schools and districts have room to operate better– it’s what I spend my professional career on! But there are severe limits when many districts are starved of the necessary supports.

We know how poverty makes it significantly harder for individuals to always make the “best” decisions that will lead to the greatest chance of escaping poverty. We talk far too little about how impoverished institutions and organizations face those same challenges. And that kind of institutional capacity rot is stacked on top of simply having too little to succeed.