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Noninstructional Spending Improves Noncognitive Outcomes: Discontinuity Evidence from a Unique Elementary School Counselor Financing System

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  • Randall Reback

    () (Barnard College, Columbia University)

Abstract

Children's noncognitive skills, mental health, and behavior are important predictors of future earnings and educational attainment. Their behavior in the classroom also affects their peers' behavior and achievement. There is limited prior evidence, however, concerning the impact of school resources on student behavior. Some elementary schools employ counselors whose primary purpose is to help improve students' behavior, mental health, and noncognitive skill acquisition. This article estimates regression discontinuity models exploiting Alabama's unique financing system for school counselors. Alabama fully subsidizes counselor appointments for all elementary schools, with the number of appointments based on schools' prior year enrollments using discrete enrollment cutoffs. The results suggest that greater counselor subsidies reduce the frequency of disciplinary incidents but do not strongly influence mean student achievement test scores. Increases in counselors moderate relatively severe behavioral problems without necessarily improving systemic behavior affecting classroom learning. © 2010 American Education Finance Association

Suggested Citation

  • Randall Reback, 2010. "Noninstructional Spending Improves Noncognitive Outcomes: Discontinuity Evidence from a Unique Elementary School Counselor Financing System," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 5(2), pages 105-137, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:edfpol:v:5:y:2010:i:2:p:105-137
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    File URL: http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/edfp.2010.5.2.5201
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    Cited by:

    1. Carrell, Scott E. & Hoekstra, Mark, 2014. "Are school counselors an effective education input?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 125(1), pages 66-69.
    2. C. Kirabo Jackson & Rucker C. Johnson & Claudia Persico, 2016. "The Effects of School Spending on Educational and Economic Outcomes: Evidence from School Finance Reforms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 131(1), pages 157-218.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    noninstructional spending; school counseling; school counselor financing; elementary schools; student behavior; student mental health; noncognitive skill acquisition;

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid

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