NEPC Review: Documenting Inequitable Patterns in Spending by Parent Teacher Associations, Parent Teacher Organizations, and "Friends of" Fundraising Groups at Illinois Public Schools (Urban Institute, February 2022)
An Urban Institute report asserts that private fundraising, which is more likely to exist in advantaged schools, increases educational inequality. The report recommends that state and district policymakers track private fundraising and consider strategies for resource sharing and equalization. While the report’s claims are consistent with other research, problems with the analysis and presentation of the data severely undercut its validity, making it hard to know how much these patterns exist in Illinois schools. Nonetheless, the report’s approach of calculating per-pupil spending to estimate the magnitude of spending by private fundraising organizations could be useful to scholars and policymakers interested in understanding the potential impact of school-specific fundraising organizations.