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The 74, 2/26/18

The next educational equity battleground: Little-noticed ESSA provision to allow parents to see whether districts fund schools fairly

When Congress updated federal education law in 2015, it included a little-noticed, bipartisan provision that requires states to report per-pupil spending at the school level. The Every Student Succeeds Act provision goes into effect in the 2018–19 school year. That change, advocates and researchers predict, is likely to expose disparities in the way some districts divide resources among their schools… “The first step is just opening up the conversation and empowering our best advocates, which are usually parents,” she said. The new data will give them useful information so they “know what the status quo is [and] ask hard questions.”

District Administration, 2/20/18

Report urges federal action on equitable funding for schools

The commission’s report also recommends that Congress collect, monitor and evaluate school spending data to see what funds directly impact student outcomes. While districts are already required to report school spending to comply with the Every Student Succeeds Act, many still struggle with the process. “In the coming years, schools will face a much greater degree of public scrutiny, so it will be critical for local leaders to control the narrative about spending,” says Carnock.

Hechinger Report, 2/15/18

Should Wall Street pay for preschool?

Utah: Granite is the first district in the nation to be financed by private investors who pay upfront for preschool seats, and make a profit if enough of the district’s “at-risk” kids succeed. The controversial financing tool, often referred to as a social impact bond, has allowed this cash-strapped district, one of five in the Salt Lake City area, to provide high-quality early education to thousands of poor 3- and 4-year-olds who might have otherwise stayed home.

The Education Trust, 2/27/18

An analysis of school funding equity across the U.S. and within each state

School districts that serve large populations of students of color and students from low-income families receive far less funding than those serving White and more affluent students. And despite widespread attention to inequitable school funding formulas — and courts that have declared them unlawful for shortchanging school districts serving large percentages of low-income students — too many states continue this unfair practice.

Education Dive, 2/20/18

Trump budget plan would cut grants to support education data systems

The Fiscal Year 2019 budget proposal would cut the entire $32 million currently allocated to the program, which also provides state education agencies with resources and technical assistance. The administration justifies the cut by saying that the program has “already successfully completed its mission” and that 47 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. territories have already received grants to help them build these systems.

News & Observer, 2/5/18

Pre-K expansion has bipartisan support. But how would NC pay for it?

Significant expansion would be costly. About 62,000 low-income children are eligible for the free NC Pre-K, and about 47 percent of them are being served. The legislature last year funded 3,500 additional slots, which will cost $27 million over two years. Goodnight said the added money will mean about 50 percent of disadvantaged children will be covered, and about 75 percent coverage is about all that’s possible given parent interest. Another challenge is on the horizon. Some schools face a space crunch for pre-K classrooms due to legislative mandates to reduce class size in early grades.

Houston Public Media, 2/15/18

Houston Superintendent defends proposed changes, calls for school finance reform

As for the budget, Carranza said that the new model tries to distribute funds in a more equitable way. But he called on state lawmakers to reform the state’s school finance system, which relies heavily on local property taxes. That’s one reason why HISD is facing a budget shortfall, as property values are expected to fall in the wake of Harvey’s flooding.

Education Week, 2/13/18

State K-12 funding, aid formulas high on legislators’ radar

With the state legislative season now in full swing, K-12 funding—as well as the prospect of changes to how that money is distributed among schools—has emerged as a top issue for lawmakers. While bickering over how much money public schools should get is a perennial drama, school finance analysts predict that real and lasting change to states’ school spending habits could be on the horizon.