Although this review of knowledge provides no silver bullet strategy for raising student achievement, it provides a variety of promising policy directions for designing an improved financing system, one that will harness school finance more closely to the goal of increasing achievement for all students. Provided the existing system of school governance is maintained essentially in its current form, the committee's main conclusions are that capacity building and incentive strategies must be designed with careful attention to their effects on student achievement and that they will need to be combined in thoughtful ways if they are to promote the goal of higher achievement for all students in a cost-effective way. For example, a policy of investing in the capacity of existing teachers is likely to be more effective if it is combined with a change in incentives that make performance count than if it is implemented by itself. Similarly, the success of a program designed to hold schools accountable may depend on the extent to which teachers have access to the skills they need to improve the performance of their students. That still leaves open for policy makers, however, the significant choice of whether to try to promote higher achievement and greater productivity of the education system primarily within the context of the existing system or to opt for major changes in the system of school governance.

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