Restructuring Resources for High-Performing Schools
With ever increasingly tight public school budgets, Education Resource Strategies (ERS) could not be timelier in the release of its policy brief related to how to maximize school spending.
In Restructuring Resources for High-performing Schools, Karen Hawley Miles, Karen Baroody, and Elliot Regenstein take a careful look at barriers that make it difficult for public schools to use resources effectively and efficiently. In particular, ERS argues that state policymakers must address four areas in order to ensure the maximum effectiveness of their spending:
How schools organize personnel and time
With class-size reduction linked positively to student performance only in early elementary grades, class size requirements and required staffing ratios should be eliminated. Similarly, flexibility in meeting student needs can be achieved by eliminating seat time requirements in non-core subjects.
When it comes to teachers, policymakers should boot
state-mandated pay incentives tied to longevity and additional education and
replace them with those awarded to effective, high-contributing teachers. A
fair and transparent process for removing low-performing teachers should also
How districts and schools spend special education dollars
A myriad of restrictions make it difficult for special education funds to be cut or reallocated, often at the expense of general education students. Public schools should establish and support early intervention programs to reduce the number of students placed in the special education system, do away with rigid staffing requirements that don’t take student progress into account and provide incentives for teachers to obtain certification in both special education and specific content areas.
How districts allocate resources to schools and students
To dodge roadblocks put in place by restrictive categorical
funding, these fragmented funding streams should be combined and their goals
reanalyzed. Additionally, states should shift funding rules away from things
like time requirements and class sizes, and toward creating accountability
What information districts gather on resources and spending
With 48 percent of education funding coming from state coffers, districts can significantly influence student performance by harnessing this funding and using it wisely. Districts should be encouraged to seek more transparency in their district-level resource use and outcomes.
In short, the name of the game is flexibility. By eliminating restrictive mandates and requirements and allowing for flexibility in fund allocation, public school funds may be more effectively used to meet the needs of all students and encourage high-performing teachers.
Restructuring Resources for High-Performing
Schools: A Primer for State Policymakers
Karen Hawley Miles, Karen Baroody, and Elliot Regenstein
Education Resource Strategies
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