This year, the bear market looks to be turning, and with Trump’s promise of a $20 billion investment in school choice, the school choice bulls are ready to run. However, any good investment advisor will advise diversifying because going big on any one push can end in disaster. The question for advocates should not be how to make fast gains on a $20 billion investment in school choice, but how to structure that investment to pay off in the long run.
America’s educators need every tool in the toolbox to turn around chronically struggling schools. Choice alone won’t do it. Local control, in and of itself, won’t do it; for the most part, we have local control and it’s one of the big reasons some low-performing schools languish for decades. More money is important, but all funds need to be spent strategically. Successful turnarounds must be accompanied by real and meaningful changes in the way we train and support teachers, the way we instruct students and the way we structure our time and use our resources.
A new report from EdBuild, Building Equity: Fairness in Property Tax Effort for Education, analyzes the way public schools are funded via property taxes and how this affects school funding equity. The disparities in “tax effort” for education funding are a key emphasis for the report, which aims to determine whether the burden put on poorer districts is more than their wealthier counterparts.
Commentary: As charter school growth slows, time to re-examine bureaucratic, funding, political hurdles
States may need to take a look at the incentives — financial and otherwise — embedded in their laws and policies. An economist might say that the supply of charter schools is simply meeting the logical limit of the current funding and political environment. If we want supply to change, we first need to change that environment…For more information on national charter school growth, read the National Alliance of Public Charter Schools’ recently released report on estimated enrollment for the 2016-17 school year here.
The debate is especially heated in states looking to overhaul their education funding formulas, some in response to court rulings. And in some states, the picture is complicated by budget shortfalls that threaten deep cuts for K-12 education. Among the states to keep an eye on this year as they look to make fundamental changes to their funding formula are: Connecticut, Delaware, Kansas, Illinois, Mississippi, New Jersey, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
In Kansas, the state’s public school finance system “is not reasonably calculated to have all Kansas public education students meet or exceed the minimum constitutional standards of adequacy,” the Kansas Supreme Court says. With the decision, the court also gave state lawmakers time to devise a new school financing system, setting a deadline of June 30.
The program, the first of its kind nationwide to be passed that doesn’t limit applicants based on income, would deposit upward of $5,100 in state education funds into a bank account to be used by approved families for private school tuition, tutoring and other expenses. The program was put on hold last year after the Nevada Supreme Court ruled that ESA funding couldn’t come from the state school budget, but supporters are hoping to resolve lingering issues and revive it.
Texas: Several extolled his bill as a commendable effort to begin modernizing state aid formulas and grant local property taxpayers at least slight relief. The measure would spend an additional $1.6 billion on schools in the next two years.
Twelve of 26 voucher programs nationwide are aimed specifically at students with disabilities, as are 3 of 5 educational savings account programs, 2 of 21 tax-credit scholarship programs, and 1 of 9 individual tax credits or deductions.
Schools loosened their belts a little, in spite of lower federal support, according to new federal data from fiscal 2014. That year, the median school district spent about $10,300 per student, up about 1 percent from fiscal 2012. The uptick was driven by higher spending in suburbs, towns and rural areas; urban districts actually spent a little less.