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Knowledge From the Field

Performance Pressure and Resource Allocation in Ohio

Published: February 2008

Publisher(s): Center on Reinventing Public Education

Author(s): De Wys, Shelley; Jacob E. Adams, Jr.; Melissa Bowen; Allison Demeritt

Funder(s): Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

View Report (126 pages; 1.72MB; PDF)

Area of Focus: Educational Standards; Rural Education


Based on interviews with state, district, and school leaders, the report explores the extent to which school finance systems support student performance goals, the impact of heightened performance expectations on resource allocation decisions, and the constraints and influences on school finance decisionmakers. The report is based on case studies of five districts in Ohio, including a rural Appalachian district that appeared to be performing better than predicted.

Key Findings and/or Recommendations

=Local administrators are responding to the pressure to improve student performance, especially for historically neglected and disadvantaged students, by improving the capacity and motivation of students and teachers, providing professional development to principals, and aligning components of the education and finance systems.

=Local administrators report that constraints to aligning resource use with goals include student demographics, including problems associated with poverty, inequitable and unstable funding, union contract terms and conditions, historical perceptions of what schools should look like, lack of teacher and administrator capacity, and lack of data and established practices to identify effective resource use.

=While leaders have made significant strides in attempting to improve the quality of education through education reforms, they have failed to make commensurate progress regarding the equity, adequacy, and stability of education finance.

=The rural district, in particular, has experienced high community support and has been able to create unique practices despite insufficient resources; a challenge is high student poverty and mobility.

Focus: Ohio

Subjects/Keywords: Finance System; Reform; Rural; Standards; Student Performance; Teacher Quality; Union

+ Successful strategy
= Observation
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