Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Kay A. Keiser


During his tenure, President Barak Obama promoted education as a key to economic prosperity. However, in the post recession economy, many states reduced school funding. In Nebraska, the Governor attempted to reduce taxes for voters, while the Legislature examined how to balance the budget with a school funding formula that continually called for increased funding. Chapter One outlines this ongoing conflict between state and federal policy. Chapter Two provides a historical context of school finance policy with the state of Nebraska’s school finance history being provided in even greater detail. The indicators used to measure the economic impact of education are also discussed in Chapter Two. This correlational study builds upon the idea of the economic impact of education by examining the relationship between the Gross State Product and three areas of economic development, i.e. educational attainment, natural resource revenue, and tourism. It also examines the relationship between the degree to which a state funds education and educational attainment, income, and the Gross State Product. The study found that education attainment had a statistically significant correlation with Gross State Product (rs(50) = .395, p =.005), while neither natural resource revenue nor tourism had a statistically significant relationships with the Gross State Product. The study also found that income had a statistically significant correlation with the percentage at which a state funds education (rs = -.328, n = 50, p = .020). It was also found that this was a negative, or inverse, relationship. These findings were then shared with current education finance policymakers within the state of Nebraska. Implications were derived from their opinions that address the current state of school finance, both overall as well specifically within the state of Nebraska. It is hope that this study will provide policymakers richer research to utilize for decision making as well as deepen the dialog on the importance and impact of educational funding between educators, taxpayers, and policymakers.


A Dissertation Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate College of the University of Nebraska in Partial Fulfillment of Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Education. Copyright 2016 Aaron Jay Bredenkamp.

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