Parton: School-level spending data is coming under ESSA. Here are 5 things states must focus on when creating their new report cards
School-level spending data, from the 2017-18 school year, is required on states’ next report cards. Certainly members of Congress saw the value when they included the requirement, but states, along with a broad range of education stakeholders, still need to tell the public why this information is important. State leaders need to set the vision about the value of this information and the story it tells about school quality and student success. As the Data Quality Campaign’s research shows, “put information on a report card” isn’t always the same thing as transparency. It will take effort by state leaders to make sure the data are findable and easy to understand, and they should make it possible to view school spending data side by side with student outcomes. Guided by the vision they developed, states will need to help people understand the “so what” of the data. That includes providing some context, for instance, questions to consider, or a little information on how to interpret the data.