New Zealand has a national school funding system that allocates money to schools based on socio-economic data about students. This isn’t self-reported individual-level data, but is at the level of Census meshblocks (details here.) Schools are divided into ten deciles, and more funding given to lower-decile schools. Despite the higher funding, lower-decile schools, on average, have poorer results on standardised assessments. You can see good visualisations of this from Luis Apiolaza,
There are less-good ones at Stuff: dot plots aren’t ideal for this, and it really is better to look at cumulative categories (‘at standard or better’) rather than individual categories (‘at standard but not better’). Unfortunately, these graphs tell you almost nothing about the policy question of whether there are better ways to target the funding. There might be; there might not be.
One advantage of the current system is its automatic stabilisation. The Herald, earlier this week, had a good story about changing ethnic profiles of schools, with the sort of combination of data and individual stories it would be nice to see more often. It turns out the low-decile schools are seeing fewer students of European ethnicity, and more Māori and Pasifika students. The phrase ‘white flight’ was used, but because of the funding system this isn’t the same sort of problem as the original ‘white flight’ from US inner cities.
In the US, a lot of public school funding comes from local government. When more-affluent families leave an area, the government funding for education goes down. In New Zealand, when more-affluent families leave an area, the government funding for education goes up. There’s still a concern about diversity, but not the same sort of vicious circle that was seen in the US.