Sources: Encyclopedia of Education Economics & Finance

Encyclopedia of Education Economics & Finance. Ed. by Dominic J. Brewer and Lawrence O. Picus. Los Angeles: Sage Reference, 2014. 2 vols. alkaline $340 (ISBN: 978-1-4522-8185-8).

Comprehensive studies of educational systems in an economic and social sciences context are relatively recent. The 1966 Equality of Educational Opportunity report (also known as the Coleman Report) addressed the availability of equal educational opportunities to children of different races, religions, and national origins in response to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This was an early example of social science research being used to influence national policy. Since then, educational finance research has blossomed into an area of study that influences decision makers at the national, state and local levels in resource allocation, assessment, and school organizational and restructuring policies.

The Encyclopedia of Education Economics & Finance is a two-volume reference work featuring nearly 350 background and topical entries on primarily American educational economics from elementary to adult levels, including privatization, legislation, financing, and key economic concepts. While topics are arranged in the alphabetical order typical of encyclopedias, they are also grouped into 11 thematic areas such as “revenue and aids for schools,” “statistical methods,” and “education markets, choice, and incentives” in the prefatory Reader’s Guide, a useful way to identify related topics. Each entry concludes with see also references and further readings.

Particularly useful for navigating the complicated terrain of educational economics is this work’s set of appendixes. The first is a resource guide of major journals in education economics and finance, as well as a historical and current bibliography of seminal books, articles and reports. Appendix B traces the chronology of key events related to the finance of education from 1647’s interestingly named “Old Deluder Satan Act” (which required Massachusetts municipalities to finance local public schools) to 2014’s Gannon vs. Kansas case, which highlights the issue of separation of powers between the state legislature and judicial systems. The glossary in Appendix C is limited to financial and economic terms, but is nonetheless useful; however, the inclusion of entries covering the “alphabet soup” of education organizations, initiatives, and terminology would be valuable. These include, for example, NCLB (No Child Left Behind), the NELS (National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988), CBA (Curriculum-Based Assessment), and SBM (School-Based Management).

Although the topic of education and finance in education is addressed in various entries in the excellent, although now dated Encyclopedia of Education (Macmillan Reference USA, 2003), this title is the first reference work to cover the topic in more depth. As such, it joins other special topics-based encyclopedias in education, including the Encyclopedia of Diversity in Education (Sage, 2012), and the Encyclopedia of Educational Theory and Philosophy (Sage, 2014). Recommended primarily for college and university libraries.—Jennifer A. Bartlett, Head of Reference Services, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky


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