Date of Award

Summer 2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educ Foundations & Leadership


Educational Leadership

Committee Director

William Owings

Committee Member

Steven P. Myran

Committee Member

John Ritz


As the United States seeks to compete in the increasingly connected global economy, efforts have been made to improve both internal educational outcomes such as test scores and graduation rates, as well as relative educational outcomes such as the ranking of the United States' test scores on international assessments. Finding the correct strategies to improve education nationally is difficult, since education takes place in a very personal context that differs from state to state, district to district, school to school, classroom to classroom, and student to student. However, because of the importance of increasing educational outcomes, the nation has looked to find ways to improve the entire system nationally through creating standards based legislation like No Child Left Behind or competitive incentives like in Race to the Top. If there are proven educational policies that can be applied nationally that can improve the entire nation's educational performance, then those policies would be important to include as a supplement to current plans or as a part of future ones.

A highly analyzed input variable is funding. The debate over the relationship between funding and improved outcomes has lasted for fifty years, eventually leading to the answer that funding matters, sometimes. However, using fiscal effort rather than dollars spent may lead to finding a correlation between dollars and educational improvements. It may be that having a good deal of money may lead a district to spend less carefully and increase waste. It may also be that spending a higher percentage of a community's taxes on education may indicate a greater interest in education.

While the goal of education is not simply to create new economic pawns within a greater system, it is understood that within the United States, capitalistic achievement is considered to be a gateway to greater life opportunities. Creating students that are more employable, more skilled, and therefore increase the economic base of the nation is certainly a goal that is achievable through better education. This dissertation seeks to ascertain if there is a correlation between fiscal effort and increased personal income. The dissertation analyzed data from several sample states over an extended period of time to determine if increasing fiscal effort has led to greater personal income.