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Building Financial Leadership To Do More for Students: Lessons from a Landscape Analysis of Education Finance Curriculum in Higher Ed

BY debraabritt
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Katherine Silberstein, Marguerite Roza, and Jordan Tollefson
February, 2022

Deciding how to spend the nation’s education dollars is a tremendous responsibility. It’s easy to forget that this responsibility falls primarily to district leaders (sometimes with input from principals). Sometimes those decisions go well and schools beat the odds on student outcomes. Other times, they do not, and student outcomes lag. Sometimes these decisions help ensure financial stability from one year to the next. Other times, district leaders commit to spending more than the district can afford, resulting in disruptive and destabilizing cuts to schools.

There’s no doubt, finance is a critical part of the job for K-12 leaders, from school principals to district officials to state superintendents. But there is growing evidence that these leaders are not getting the financial skills they need from the nation’s colleges of education, where most get their training.

This study explores what kind of finance training is offered among leading colleges of education and how well it meets the demands on today’s K-12 leaders.

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This research was supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through R305U200003 to Georgetown University. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent views of the Institute or the U.S. Department of Education.

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