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So far debraabritt has created 45 blog entries.

Please contact us at edunomics@georgetown.edu for accessible versions of these resources.

Communication Template for Principals on Use of Federal Relief Funds

2021-07-21T21:02:42+00:00

Based on messaging research on how district staff, principals, teachers, and parents engage with and react to information about school finance, this template will help principals engage their community in a way that cultivates trust and helps make the most of the federal relief dollars.  


Communication Template for Principals on Use of Federal Relief Funds2021-07-21T21:02:42+00:00

Will the American Rescue Plan’s ‘Meaningful Consultation’ Requirement Usher in Community Participation in School Budgets?

2021-07-21T18:25:51+00:00

In Forbes, Marguerite Roza writes that the federal requirement for “meaningful consultation” on the use of ARP funds sounds like a call for participatory budgeting, and wonders whether it could prompt a new level of civic engagement in school spending.


Will the American Rescue Plan’s ‘Meaningful Consultation’ Requirement Usher in Community Participation in School Budgets?2021-07-21T18:25:51+00:00

Congress Provided Billions To Schools. Will Districts Spend It Creatively?

2021-07-21T18:30:39+00:00

In this Forbes commentary, Chad Aldeman explains how the American Recovery Plan differs from past federal relief efforts for schools, and what that means for state and district leaders looking to make these one-time dollars count.


Congress Provided Billions To Schools. Will Districts Spend It Creatively?2021-07-21T18:30:39+00:00

Smart ways to cover the coming ‘year of ed finance’

2021-06-28T20:54:52+00:00

Marguerite Roza offers six tips for reporters on covering how school districts choose to spend $122 billion in flexible American Rescue Plan funds, the biggest onetime federal payout to schools ever.


Smart ways to cover the coming ‘year of ed finance’2021-06-28T20:54:52+00:00

Let Schools, Not District Offices, Decide How to Spend Some Federal Aid

2021-06-11T22:06:44+00:00

In this Education Next commentary, Marguerite Roza and Jessica Swanson suggest that districts give a portion of federal relief dollars directly to schools to decide how best to spend on behalf of their students.


Let Schools, Not District Offices, Decide How to Spend Some Federal Aid2021-06-11T22:06:44+00:00

Teacher Dissatisfaction May Be High, But So Are Retention Rates

2021-06-11T22:09:35+00:00

Across Washington state, public schools retained a higher percentage of teachers last year than they do in normal years. That's important information for school district leaders as they decide how to spend the windfall of federal relief funds headed their way.


Teacher Dissatisfaction May Be High, But So Are Retention Rates2021-06-11T22:09:35+00:00

Billions of Federal Funds Are Coming to Schools. How Should They Spend Them?

2021-05-25T20:58:55+00:00

Adding staff has been the main “big bet” in public education for decades. With new federal relief aid heading to schools, will district leaders meet the moment with new and different ideas for what students need now?


Billions of Federal Funds Are Coming to Schools. How Should They Spend Them?2021-05-25T20:58:55+00:00

By Paying Stipends to Schools’ Teaching Staff, Districts Can Add Learning Time Without Breaking the Bank

2021-05-03T21:57:08+00:00

In this commentary at The 74, Chad Aldeman shows how offering current teachers stipends to take on more hours could provide students with additional learning time without locking districts into long-term financial obligations.


By Paying Stipends to Schools’ Teaching Staff, Districts Can Add Learning Time Without Breaking the Bank2021-05-03T21:57:08+00:00

Best- and worst-case scenarios for how school stimulus dollars will be spent

2021-04-13T00:19:41+00:00

Will an unprecedented federal infusion of money lead to an unprecedented recovery effort? In this Thomas B. Fordham Institute blog, Chad Aldeman considers the range of possibilities.


Best- and worst-case scenarios for how school stimulus dollars will be spent2021-04-13T00:19:41+00:00

With federal relief dollars on the way, districts face big decisions

2021-04-13T00:21:17+00:00

In this Education Next commentary, Marguerite Roza and Chad Aldeman suggest that it's a good time for leaders to employ the classic "would you rather" test to help explore spending tradeoffs and think through the cost and value of competing investments. 


With federal relief dollars on the way, districts face big decisions2021-04-13T00:21:17+00:00

Desired Features of a State Funding System

2021-03-24T22:46:38+00:00

This decision tree describes the desired features of a state education funding formula and walks policymakers through key decisions and considerations around balancing efficiency, equity and trade-offs in particular contexts.


Desired Features of a State Funding System2021-03-24T22:46:38+00:00

A way to ease student loan debt without sticking taxpayers with the bill: How about a trade?

2021-03-22T18:45:24+00:00

In this Forbes commentary, Marguerite Roza proposes a way for the federal government to provide student debt relief while putting SS/Medicare back on a financially sustainable path.


A way to ease student loan debt without sticking taxpayers with the bill: How about a trade?2021-03-22T18:45:24+00:00

Remote or in Person? Underspending or Running Deficits? What School Reopening Decisions Mean for District Budgets

2021-03-22T22:04:48+00:00

An Edunomics Lab analysis finds that while many districts are struggling financially, those that have remained mostly or entirely virtual have actually been able to save money. Some are even on pace to run surpluses this year.


Remote or in Person? Underspending or Running Deficits? What School Reopening Decisions Mean for District Budgets2021-03-22T22:04:48+00:00

During the pandemic, lost education jobs aren’t what they seem

2021-03-02T21:50:15+00:00

In this Brookings Chalkboard blog, Chad Aldeman digs into BLS data to find that recent public education job losses stem from a slowdown in hiring, not layoffs or a surge in worker turnover.


During the pandemic, lost education jobs aren’t what they seem2021-03-02T21:50:15+00:00

Lessons from Spanish Flu — Babies Born in 1919 Had Worse Educational, Life Outcomes Than Those Born Just Before or After. Could That Happen With COVID-19?

2021-03-22T22:55:57+00:00

Chad Aldeman shares an analysis of the life trajectories of babies born during the Spanish Flu, and possible implications for the economic impacts of COVID-19.


Lessons from Spanish Flu — Babies Born in 1919 Had Worse Educational, Life Outcomes Than Those Born Just Before or After. Could That Happen With COVID-19?2021-03-22T22:55:57+00:00

School Spending Data: A New National Data Archive

2021-01-28T23:26:00+00:00

This paper introduces a new national data archive that will capture year-over-year school-by-school spending figures reported by each state and enable easier cost-benefit analysis and new research on equity, innovation, and productivity at the school level.


School Spending Data: A New National Data Archive2021-01-28T23:26:00+00:00

Financial Leadership: Meeting This Moment

2020-12-09T20:41:31+00:00

This article in School Business Affairs magazine illuminates the critical need to develop district leaders' strategic finance skills.


Financial Leadership: Meeting This Moment2020-12-09T20:41:31+00:00

Variation Is the Norm: A Landscape Analysis of Weighted Student Funding Implementation

2021-01-29T00:39:51+00:00

This cross‐district comparison of 19 districts finds commonly cited reasons for adopting weighted student funding (equity, transparency, and school‐level spending flexibility). However, there is no standard WSF formula and districts are implementing it quite differently.


Variation Is the Norm: A Landscape Analysis of Weighted Student Funding Implementation2021-01-29T00:39:51+00:00

How Federal Education Aid Can Tackle The K-Shaped Learning Recovery: Let’s start with $3000 Per Disengaged Student.

2020-12-07T23:45:24+00:00

In this op-ed, Marguerite Roza proposes a separate, flexible sum targeted at helping students for whom pandemic schooling isn't working.


How Federal Education Aid Can Tackle The K-Shaped Learning Recovery: Let’s start with $3000 Per Disengaged Student.2020-12-07T23:45:24+00:00

Lessons Learned: Weighted Student Funding

2020-11-03T22:54:25+00:00

This brief summarizes findings from a three-year, U.S. Department of Education-funded research study analyzing the use of weighted student funding (WSF) at the district and state level.


Lessons Learned: Weighted Student Funding2020-11-03T22:54:25+00:00

Taking Stock of Principals’ Role in Weighted Student Funding Districts

2020-10-27T19:49:19+00:00

In this brief, based upon a 2017-18 survey of 639 principals in 14 school districts implementing weighted student funding, we find that principals are actively engaged in the budget process and utilize their flexibilities, but often do not come into their role with the financial leadership training to carry out those tasks.


Taking Stock of Principals’ Role in Weighted Student Funding Districts2020-10-27T19:49:19+00:00

ED Surprises SEAs with New Data Release

2020-11-07T00:47:38+00:00

In this blog, Marguerite Roza discusses efforts to make new school-by-school spending data easier to find, interpret, and use.


ED Surprises SEAs with New Data Release2020-11-07T00:47:38+00:00

How the coronavirus shutdown will affect school district revenues

2020-08-03T20:24:57+00:00

In this Brookings Chalkboard blog, Marguerite Roza discusses what a larger state role in education funding means for districts during an economic downturn.


How the coronavirus shutdown will affect school district revenues2020-08-03T20:24:57+00:00

How States Can Put Students at the Center of Their School Funding Formulas

2020-08-03T20:25:21+00:00

In this Hunt Institute "Making Sense of NC School Funding" blog, Marguerite Roza provides a national perspective on how states approach school funding.


How States Can Put Students at the Center of Their School Funding Formulas2020-08-03T20:25:21+00:00

The Big Bet on Adding Staff to Improve Schools Is Breaking the Bank

2020-08-03T20:25:42+00:00

By going all-in on staffing, we’ve crowded out other potential investments­ that can positively impact student learning. In this paper, Marguerite Roza writes that competing strategies should be viewed through the lens of which can do the most for students with the limited dollars at hand.


The Big Bet on Adding Staff to Improve Schools Is Breaking the Bank2020-08-03T20:25:42+00:00

Edunomics Lab against the tide: Yes, eliminate CRDC finance elements

2020-08-03T20:26:17+00:00

When the U.S. Department of Education proposed significant changes to the Civil Rights Data Collection, we broke with many of our peer organizations to write in support of eliminating the school finance portion.


Edunomics Lab against the tide: Yes, eliminate CRDC finance elements2020-08-03T20:26:17+00:00

One Reason Millennials Might Say “OK Boomer” This Holiday Season

2020-08-03T20:27:21+00:00

Past generations racked up billions in teacher pension debt and younger generations are now expected to pay for it. This blog shows how a multi-generational discussion of that topic might play out.


One Reason Millennials Might Say “OK Boomer” This Holiday Season2020-08-03T20:27:21+00:00

Chicago Teachers Nearing Retirement Paid a Big Price in Striking

2020-08-03T20:27:40+00:00

Chicago's senior teachers got hit with a double whammy. As we discuss in this blog, for those at the top of the pay scale retiring in the next four years, the strike meant lost wages and a decrease in future pension payments.


Chicago Teachers Nearing Retirement Paid a Big Price in Striking2020-08-03T20:27:40+00:00

Leaders Ignored Teacher Pension Debt. Now There’s Less Money for Teacher Salaries and Students

2020-08-03T20:27:57+00:00

This brief quantifies, in per pupil and per teacher terms, the magnitude of the crowd-out that pension debt creates for six states: CA, IL, LA, SC, TX, and VT. The goal is to help education leaders grasp the relationship between their pension debt bills and their aspirations for spending on schooling inputs, including teacher salaries.


Leaders Ignored Teacher Pension Debt. Now There’s Less Money for Teacher Salaries and Students2020-08-03T20:27:57+00:00

Chicago’s Teachers Union Agreed to Give Spending Control to Principals. Now, the Union Is Striking to Take It Away

2020-08-03T20:28:26+00:00

Chicago teacher contract negotiations stalled over who controls staffing decisions in schools. In this commentary, Marguerite Roza explains why principals should be entrusted to make the spending decisions that best serve their students.


Chicago’s Teachers Union Agreed to Give Spending Control to Principals. Now, the Union Is Striking to Take It Away2020-08-03T20:28:26+00:00

The “Would You Rather?” Test

2020-08-03T20:28:42+00:00

Education spending always involves choices, and smart choices require understanding value for the dollar. This paper uses the "would you rather" exercise to explore tradeoffs in school spending and think through the value of various cost-equivalent investments.


The “Would You Rather?” Test2020-08-03T20:28:42+00:00

A Guide for SEA-led Resource Allocation Reviews. Appendix 1: Sample Data Report

2020-08-03T20:29:11+00:00

Resource allocation reviews (RARs) in districts that serve low-performing schools offer a new opportunity to examine the connection between resource allocation and academic outcomes. This sample data report is an example of what state leaders can assemble and share with district leaders.


A Guide for SEA-led Resource Allocation Reviews. Appendix 1: Sample Data Report2020-08-03T20:29:11+00:00

Funding for Students’ Sake: How to Stop Financing Tomorrow’s Schools Based on Yesterday’s Priorities

2020-08-03T23:32:32+00:00

Student-based allocation (also known as weighted student funding) provides the most equitable, efficient, and flexible path toward increased productivity. This brief explains why it is a good idea to allocate resources on the basis of students, and measures several states' progress toward doing so.


Funding for Students’ Sake: How to Stop Financing Tomorrow’s Schools Based on Yesterday’s Priorities2020-08-03T23:32:32+00:00

A Way to Get School Finances Back Under Control

2020-08-03T23:28:15+00:00

This commentary lays out why it may be time for states to establish agencies modeled on the federal Government Accountability Office (GAO) to certify school district obligations before they take effect and push districts into financial crisis.


A Way to Get School Finances Back Under Control2020-08-03T23:28:15+00:00

Training School Leaders to Spend Wisely

2020-08-03T23:09:04+00:00

This article in Education Next shines a light on the pressing need to better support district and school leaders in their work on the spending side of the equation.


Training School Leaders to Spend Wisely2020-08-03T23:09:04+00:00

Understanding school finance is one thing. Being effective in communicating about it is another skill entirely

2020-08-03T23:05:05+00:00

This article provides tips for school, district, and state leaders to communicate effectively about school finance issues—whether the topic is a state funding formula, a local tax levy, teacher salaries, or spending on athletics—and build much-needed trust and understanding in the process.


Understanding school finance is one thing. Being effective in communicating about it is another skill entirely2020-08-03T23:05:05+00:00

L.A. District Is Asking for a $500 Million Parcel Tax. In Return, Let the Schools Decide How to Spend Their New Funds

2020-08-03T23:04:07+00:00

In this commentary The 74, Marguerite Roza and Anthony Drew note that many of the country’s largest school districts have shifted to a decentralized funding model, allocating funds to schools based on student needs, and boosting equity and transparency in the process. They urge LAUSD leaders to follow suit.


L.A. District Is Asking for a $500 Million Parcel Tax. In Return, Let the Schools Decide How to Spend Their New Funds2020-08-03T23:04:07+00:00

Weighted Student Funding Is On The Rise. Here’s What We Are Learning

2020-08-03T23:03:06+00:00

In this blog, Marguerite Roza discusses initial findings from our IES-funded research study that seeks to document the range of WSF formulas and detail how they are being implemented in school systems around the nation.


Weighted Student Funding Is On The Rise. Here’s What We Are Learning2020-08-03T23:03:06+00:00

DeVos Proposed $50 Million for Districts to Decentralize Federal Money, to Put Schools in the Driver’s Seat. It’s a Smart Idea

2020-08-03T21:48:12+00:00

In this commentary in The 74, Marguerite Roza urges legislators to consider a proposed pilot program to give school leaders and staff a say in how federal resources are used in their schools


DeVos Proposed $50 Million for Districts to Decentralize Federal Money, to Put Schools in the Driver’s Seat. It’s a Smart Idea2020-08-03T21:48:12+00:00

A Checklist to Guide Data-Visualization Decisions

2020-03-17T04:32:05+00:00

This checklist will help SEAs determine what they hope to accomplish with their financial transparency reporting and which data elements to include in order to answer a range of critical questions.


A Checklist to Guide Data-Visualization Decisions2020-03-17T04:32:05+00:00

School-level spending: Financial transparency coming to every community in 2018

2020-04-17T03:19:54+00:00

At the Education Writers Association National Seminar on June 2nd, hosted at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., Marguerite Roza presented on new school spending reports emerging under the federal ESSA financial transparency requirement.


School-level spending: Financial transparency coming to every community in 20182020-04-17T03:19:54+00:00

The Productivity Opportunity: A Role-Playing Activity to Engage Leaders in Financial and Outcomes Data

2020-03-16T21:33:03+00:00

This document offers a set of exercises designed to help education leaders better understand the relationship between spending and student performance—and position them to use emerging data to explore opportunities for productivity in their day-to-day work improving education.


The Productivity Opportunity: A Role-Playing Activity to Engage Leaders in Financial and Outcomes Data2020-03-16T21:33:03+00:00

The Productivity of Rural Schools

2020-03-16T21:57:36+00:00

Remote rural districts are often more expensive and yield lower student outcomes than urban and suburban districts. Yet some rural districts generate higher-than-expected learning results without proportionately higher spending. Based on interviews with leaders in 30 rural remote districts, Marguerite Roza identifies six factors that make some districts “productivity superstars."


The Productivity of Rural Schools2020-03-16T21:57:36+00:00