But a funny thing happened on the way to the final Washington Learns report—the Picus and Odden study was buried, never to be seen again, a historical curiosity that only real wonks would remember.
Wonks like Erik Hanushek, for example. Affiliated with The Hoover Institute and Standford University, Hanushek has never met a school finance lawsuit he didn’t like to eviscerate. Cynics would call him a hired gun for legislatures that don’t want to fully fund their schools; supporters would say that he’s a voice of reason and moderation in how we use taxpayer monies. Either way, in the Winter 2007 edition of Education Next has a six page article from Mr. Hanushek wherein he takes a long, critical look at Picus and Odden, and he doesn’t like what he sees.
Why is this important? The next project for Washington Learns is supposed to be to get our school financing system figured out, because (sarcasm!) no committee ever in the history of Washington State has thought to do that before (/sarcasm!). With Picus and Odden out there, along with The Conley Report, there’s voluminous evidence in the past year as to how short we’re falling funding schools here in Washington. On the other side there’s the work of Hanushek, among others.
Hanushek’s rebuttal of Picus was also prominently featured recently in a column from the Washington Roundtable, a business group that frequently comments on school issues, usually conservatively. It's also a good guess that P&O will be brought up in the school funding lawsuit, along with our old friend The Conley Report.
It's a short legislative session this year, but there could still be some neat action going on!
Read more here, if any.