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A Think Twice Review of:

Hidden Money: The Outsized Role of Parent Contributions in School Finance

Think Twice - Jun 15, 2017

Publisher/Think Tank - Center for American Progress

Author(s) - Catherine Brown, Scott Sargrad, and Meg Benner

A report from the Center for American Progress (CAP) investigated private fundraising by parent groups, a source of inequality in education that receives scant attention. The report called on district leaders to take actions to address funding disparities between wealthy and low-income schools. The report found that while affluent students receive additional funding for additional resources from parent groups, low-income students (disproportionately children of color) must spend public dollars to obtain the same resources.

Reviewer(s) - Maia Cucchiara, Temple University

An academic review of the report finds the report’s findings about the scope and beneficiaries of private fundraising are credible and important. However, the reviewer, Maia Cucchiera, Temple University, finds fault with the report’s focus on a small number of schools and districts. She adds that the report fails to provide school and community context, and the case study design limited the report’s overall relevance. More importantly, Cucchiera reminds readers that sources of educational inequality are based on structural factors, rather than on the actions of individual parents.