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Knowledge From the Field

Funding Student Learning: How to Align Education Resources With Student Learning Goals

Published: December 2008

Publisher(s): Center on Reinventing Public Education

Funder(s): Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

View Report (52 pages; 547KB; PDF)

Funding Student Learning: How to Align Education Resources With Student Learning Goals

Area of focus: Educational Standards


This report aims to identify the problems, recognize core principles, match funding mechanisms to goals, and define a context in which money can matter in the public education system. The Working Group was able to identify opportunities that today’s school finance systems miss and to show how public funds can be used more effectively toward achieving results the public now expects. 

Key Findings and/or Recommendations

+ Delivering resources transparently and flexibly, by itself, can remove many of the impediments associated with conventional finance systems.

= Convert federal, state, and local general and categorical dollars into “student-based funding” that supports students’ basic and special needs, and adjust this amount for regional cost differences.

= Create and support information systems that link student performance, finance, human resource, and family/community information.

= Strengthen charter laws, or create other mechanisms, to allow outside-the-box experiments on resource and school options.

= Adapt resources to local needs.  This requires local educators to consider the relative advantages of resource options.

- Where educators have good ideas about matching resources with needs, they often lack the flexibility to use resources in those effective ways. Targeted spending programs and traditional collective bargaining agreements apply one-size-fits-all solutions to schools facing different challenges and levels of funding.

Geographic Focus: National

Subjects/Keywords: Educational Standards, low-performing schools, school finance systems, school reform

+ Successful strategy
= Observation
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