Investigating the Academic Performance and Disciplinary Consequences of School District Internet Access Spending
Posted: 3 May 2018 Last revised: 12 Jun 2019
Date Written: June 11, 2019
School districts advertise the academic benefits of school internet access in their strategic communication to parents as a means to attract and retain students. Yet, the benefits and costs of school district internet access spending (SDIAS) are not clearly understood. Does SDIAS increase academic performance among students? What is the role of SDIAS in exacerbating or mitigating school disciplinary problems? Using a longitudinal dataset that combines SDIAS of 1,166 school districts with school performance of 9,804 Texas public schools between 2000 and 2014, the authors find that a $1-million increase in SDIAS is associated with an improvement of 9 out of 10 academic performance indicators (effect sizes ranging from 1% to 10% of a standard deviation), amounting to an increase of cumulative present student income value of $1.2 million to $2.5 million for a school district. This finding provides academic evidence for school districts to communicate the tangible value of SDIAS to their parents, students, and funding agencies. Yet, a $1-million increase in SDIAS is associated with a 7% increase in Part II offense-related school disciplinary problems, amounting to a $38,700 to $80,160 yearly cost for a school district. This highlights the need for supplementary initiatives to monitor and mitigate the disciplinary consequences of SDIAS if school districts want to maximize the academic benefits. The positive and negative consequences of SDIAS are more pronounced in schools in regions with a higher level of household internet access, highlighting the need for school districts to tailor their supplementary initiatives by the amount of pre-existing internet exposure levels in the neighborhoods where schools are located.
Keywords: non-profit, marketing-mix investments, internet access spending, observational data, public school districts, household broadband coverage
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