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Funding Student Learning: How to Align Education Resources with Student Learning Goals

After years of hard work and spending hundreds of millions to raise the level of student performance, educators, political and civic leaders, and parents still have not produced the results they expect. Now we know why: “A basic flaw in these improvement efforts is that they look to the education finance system for solutions when the system itself is the problem,” according to a team of nationally respected education scholars. That observation arises from a five-year, in-depth examination of K-12 school finance in the United States. The report summarizes the work of eleven scholars. It both describes the problems with state school finance systems and offers solutions.

Key recommendations for fixing broken school finance systems are:

  • Allow dollars to follow students to their schools
  • Integrate resource decisions with instructional plans; measure and analyze results of different expenditures
  • Actively support continuous student improvement
  • Define and fund a research and development agenda that expands what we know about effective resource use
  • Make resource use and academic achievement central to financial reporting practices, and use funding contingencies to create fair and meaningful accountability

The National Working Group on Funding Student Learning: Jacob E. Adams, Jr., Christopher T. Cross, Christopher Edley, Jr., James W. Guthrie, Paul T. Hill, Michael W. Kirst, Goodwin Liu, Susanna Loeb, David H. Monk, Allan R. Odden, Joanne Weiss


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