Public education will continue to face financial challenges. Through our work, we help education leaders understand the implications of current and alternative ways of distributing dollars and help those leaders use every dollar to maximize benefits for students.
A more productive education system is both more financially sustainable and yields better student outcomes. Emerging financial data will make it easier to link outcomes with spending, surfacing schools that are most able to leverage their money to maximize student outcomes. And it will allow all schools (and systems) to benchmark progress toward improved productivity.
Our productivity analysis, shown in the graphic below, plots per-pupil spending and student outcomes by school. These sorts of analyses can help system leaders discover innovative practices, benchmark districts and schools, and manage for continuous improvement.
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.
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.
In this article in the National Association of State Boards of Education journal, The Standard, Marguerite Roza writes that financial transparency presents state boards of education with a timely opportunity to turn the tide on local leader training.
Funding Student Types: How states can mine their own data to guide finance policy on high-needs students
To help states design effective funding policies to serve high-needs students, this brief by Marguerite Roza helps states ask the right questions, tap their own data, and analyze funding in relation to student outcomes.
This webinar provides an overview of the financial transparency requirement in the Every Student Succeeds Act, highlight lessons learned from states working toward meeting the requirement, and provide a district lens for thinking about the opportunities this new data can provide.
In this brief we describe our work with 22 state education agencies to identify data readiness to meet the financial transparency reporting requirement under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and outline the inventory processes so other states can identify their own next steps to meet the requirement.
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.
In this blog and podcast, Marguerite Roza explains how a sleeper provision in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) will serve up a motherlode of new school-level financial data, offering an unprecedented opportunity to be better equipped to tackle some of education’s most pressing issues.
These five Rapid Response briefs model the costs of productivity improvements in K-12 education, including changes in staffing ratios, the impact of late-career teacher pay raises on pension debt, and paying the best teachers more to teach more students.
In 2016 we convened leading authorities to discuss the complexities of education finance in light of the new Every Student Succeeds Act. Watch Marguerite Roza’s research presentation, US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s keynote, and an expert panel discussion of the shifting roles in education finance decisions.
Marguerite Roza responds to an online “Room for Debate” conversation hosted by the New York Times, arguing that chasing after nonresident students threatens the very nature of public universities as institutions that serve the state.
This article explores how school systems can improve productivity even when so much of what matters—the human variables and relationships in student learning—can’t be centrally managed and scaled across schools.
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."
Edunomics Lab, in partnership with Council of Chief State School Officers and the Building State Capacity and Productivity Center, convened a Community of Practice to support a group of leaders in all states interested in developing a state-specific framework and strategy set related to the SEA’s role in increasing productivity. This series of five webinars is designed to help Regional Comprehensive Centers support state education agency (SEA) leaders as they explore how they can better support districts and schools to operate in a more productive way.
On February 9, 2017 nearly 100 state and district leaders representing 36 states met in Washington, D.C. to explore the opportunities and work ahead to meet the financial transparency reporting requirement in ESSA. Available presentations are linked.
In this hands-on workshop presented at NAIS national conference in March 2017 school leaders dove into the math of school resource allocation. Dr. Roza shared innovative financial strategies and how leaders could apply the concepts to their own school context.
In this paper we identify some common themes that makes some remote rural districts “productivity superstars” and describe steps states can take to encourage and support district productivity.
In this essay addresses the assumption that rural districts are less productive than their urban or suburban peers by discussing rural districts can “beat the odds” by increasing student results without increasing per-pupil expenditures.
This analysis shows how a longer work year could increase teachers’ annual salaries and improve student outcomes.
Marguerite Roza's response to the NY Times Room for Debate question ~ Is spending more on education the best way to improve schools and teaching?
In this brief on the landmark federal law’s 50th anniversary, we offer five key principles to help policymakers revise Title I so that it fulfills its promise of augmenting funding for poor students.
In this analysis we find how allowing our best teachers to teach more students in lieu of hiring additional staff could offer significant teacher bonuses. Findings are modeled state-by-state.
In this paper we explore spending and outcomes data of rural schools and highlight policy implications for states seeking improved outcomes for all their districts in the context of limited resources.
The Phantom Menace: Policies that Protect Districts from Declining or Low Enrollments, Drive Up Spending and Inhibit Adaptation
This paper examines the practice of states funding school districts for students who do not attend school there. Aimed at “protecting” districts from enrollment fluctuations, the practice drives up spending and inhibits adaptation.
This analysis finds that staffing ratios across K-12 education have risen precipitously over several decades and, despite the impact of the Great Recession, remain at 2004 levels. A state-by-state comparison reveals large disparities across states.
In this presentation state education chiefs heard about a basic framework for leading the productivity challenge that includes building a productivity data infrastructure, prioritizing flexibility, aligning funds with students, incentivizing innovation, and leading the change.
In this paper, we discuss how states can (and why they should) track and share school-level outcomes relative to school-level spending in their online information systems. Some schools are far more productive than others—getting better student results for less money—yet states are not yet routinely identifying such schools.
This publication introduces the “productivity infrastructure" the building blocks for an SEA committed to supporting productivity, innovation, and performance—from the state chief to the classroom.
In this webinar and presentation, we share seven key steps for principals to customize their use of resources based on student outcomes goals and needs. This includes concrete budget strategies and hands-on exercises to help principals understand and weigh cost and tradeoff scenarios.
In this brief, we argue that mayors, as the person responsible for a municipality’s overall well-being, are uniquely positioned to identify and promote productive school models and advocate for all students, regardless of what type of school they attend.
On February 26, 2016 Marguerite Roza conducted a webinar for state education agency leaders. This webinar explored how SEAs can build an information system designed to drive productivity – what data are needed, how to compile the data into useful resources for leaders at every level of education and how these stakeholders can use the data to drive decision making and advance productivity.
At a public symposium of the NY Education Reform Commission, Marguerite Roza presented on "Maximizing Resources for Student and School Success."
In this volume of The SEA of the Future, Marguerite Roza co-authored two essays examining how state leaders, challenged with having to make decisions on how to use limited resources, are faced with an uneasy zero-sum game: every dollar they put into one program is a dollar not spent in another.
In this essay from The SEA of the Future Volume 2, Marguerite Roza and Michael Podgursky look in depth at the startling long-term costs of educator pension systems and the counterproductive employment incentives embedded in these systems.
In this essay published in The SEA of the Future Volume 2, Marguerite Roza makes the case for why productivity is essential to improving outcomes for students.
This brief describes a common practice that inhibits both efficiency and productivity: funding students who do not actually attend school in funded districts and how this is often overlooked by state leaders.
In this chapter, Roza assesses the strengths and weaknesses of what remains of the old in education governance, scrutinizes how traditional governance forms are changing, and suggests how governing arrangements might be further altered to produce better educational outcomes for children.
Innovating Toward Sustainability: How Computer Labs Can Enable New Staffing Structures, and New Savings
Using wage and staffing data from states, authors project the financial and staffing implications of one innovative school model (the Rocketship lab rotation) to highlight potential impacts on the schooling workforce and total per-student spending.
This brief provides a state-by-state context by computing the dollars at stake in marginally raising the number of students per class.
The Sheepskin Effect and Student Achievement: De-emphasizing the Role of Master’s Degrees in Teacher Compensation
This brief dissects the nation’s sizable investment in master’s bumps as a means of highlighting policy obstacles to a more smartly differentiated compensation approach.
This presentation framed how state legislators might think differently about their investment in education to maximize scarce state dollars and improve student achievement.
This policy brief lists fifteen concrete ways that states can “stretch the school dollar” in these difficult financial times.
Washington State High Schools Pay Less for Math and Science Teachers than for Teachers in Other Subjects
This paper examines the reasons why math and science teachers struggle to reach the same salaries as others, concluding that the state-wide salary schedule is in part to blame.
The authors discuss several areas in which labor-intensive businesses have improved productivity, but are absent in education. They conclude with a five-step agenda for finding the cure for Baumol’s disease in public education.
This analysis examines ways in which per-pupil spending in high schools varies by subject and course level, and demonstrates how isolating spending on discrete services can have a variety of benefits.
A study of California's 15 largest districts indicates that "last in, first out" policies disproportionately affect the programs and students in their poorer and more minority schools than in their wealthier, less minority counterparts.
This book explains how varied funding streams can prevent schools from delivering academic services that mesh with their stated priorities and offers concrete prescriptions for reform.
This brief explores trends in K–12 education jobs—those funded through the stimulus and by other means—to answer the question of what role ARRA played in overall education employment.
This analysis explores how state education spending has changed or will change given the application of the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund, a policy intended to stabilize state budgets and avert cuts to education.
This paper examines how calculating the per unit costs of what schools or districts can deliver can provide the best insight into the implications of all that spending.
This brief details why K-12 school districts that lay off personnel according to seniority cause disproportionate damage to their programs and students than if layoffs were determined on a seniority-neutral basis.
What is the Sum of the Parts? How Federal, State, and District Funding Streams Confound Efforts to Address Different Student Types
The authors demonstrate in greater detail than ever before how America’s methods of school finance work against a single-minded focus on student learning.
A Cost Allocation Model for Shared District Resources: A Means for Comparing Spending Across Schools
It can be difficult to assess how resources are distributed between schools, and whether every school is afforded the same opportunities to meet its educational goals. This paper addresses one key driver of spending variation between schools: shared district resources.