Does outcome-based funding encourage academic progress or deepen the divide?

As Texas lawmakers consider increasing state education funding, some state education leaders fear a turn to outcome-based funding methods for part of that formula, allocating more money to schools based on 3rd-grade reading test scores and the number of graduating seniors who prove to be college- or career-ready, KCBD reports.Top state officials have signaled their support for a plan recommended by a state-appointed school finance panel to spend a portion of the recommended education funding — about $800 million — on incentivizing superintendents to improve 3rd-grade reading scores and success rates of high school seniors. A similar idea has been tried in Arizona and appeals to some Texas business leaders and taxpayers looking for a better return on state education investment.However, many education leaders are concerned such outcomes-based incentives will direct the flow of funds from schools that need it most, creating greater funding inequities between districts, and that it will simply encourage teaching to the tests or attempts to game the system. Texas has never tied funding to school performance before, and despite recommendations, lawmakers have yet to propose a bill in support.

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