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NERD$ Lessons Learned

BY Laura Anderson
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Why NERD$? For decades, large financial datasets captured only district-level spending data. But districtwide averages, whether for performance, spending, teacher salaries, or other data points, mask variation at the school level within districts. As with many other industries and policy areas, the use of aggregated and/or average data in education finance obscures the factors that may be more relevant in explaining variation.

Starting in 2020, school-by-school financial data became publicly available thanks to a provision in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requiring school financials on every state and district report card. But the data as reported on report cards is far from research ready.

With grants funded by the Institute of Education Sciences and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Georgetown University’s Edunomics Lab tackled limitations of the report card data and assembled this first-ever research-ready school-by-school spending dataset, ensuring the usefulness and utility of the ESSA-required reported data.

Getting from Report Cards to NERD$
Recipe for High Impact Research
Improving Utility and Usefulness of Report Card Data

This work is funded in part by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through Grant R305D200032 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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