School & District Management What the Research Says

Recession’s Budget Cuts Hurt Test Scores

By Daarel Burnette II — October 01, 2019 1 min read

Dramatic budget cuts during the Great Recession that sent waves of layoffs throughout the country significantly hurt academic achievement for low-income and black children, a study published by the American Educational Research Association says.

Researchers studied test scores of students in grades 3-8 in more than 2,500 counties and found that districts with the biggest budget cuts from 2007 to 2010 experienced a loss of approximately 25 percent of the expected annual academic gains compared with districts least affected by the recession. This impact was more severe in districts that had both majority-poor student enrollment and at least 39 percent of the students were black. The researchers studied test scores provided by the Stanford Education Data Archive that allow for comparative analysis between districts and states.

A version of this article appeared in the October 02, 2019 edition of Education Week as Recession’s Budget Cuts Hurt Test Scores

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