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When Schools Spend Less, Do Families Spend More? The Responsiveness of Supplementary Education Spending to Changes in the Local Schooling Context

This working paper explores the relationship between local public education spending, local public school demographics, and family spending on supplemental education or private schooling. Basic to its analysis are data on school spending from the National Center for Education Statistics as well as data on family spending from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics. The analysis finds that spending on supplemental education or private schooling is not significantly related to local public education spending. However, such spending is significantly related to the racial/ethnic composition of school districts. Where school districts are more racially and ethnically diverse, families spend more on supplemental education or private schooling. This result is driven by the families with the highest spending, who are paying tuition for private schooling.

Publisher’s Note: IPSEP working papers are distinct in content and style from other NEPC publications. They are “works in progress” by academics offering cutting-edge analyses of developments in educational privatization. Though not peer reviewed, they typically represent early versions of articles to be submitted to refereed academic journals. As such, their primary audience is academics, but they also serve the wider community of policymakers and practitioners by providing a first look at the latest research in the field.

Suggested Citation:  Downes, T. & Killeen, K.M. (2024). When schools spend less, do families spend more? The responsiveness of supplementary education spending to changes in the local schooling context. Boulder, CO: International Partnership for the Study of Educational Privatization, National Education Policy Center. Retrieved [date], from