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Making ESSA’s Resource Equity Provisions Meaningful

Recommendations for districts on ESSA compliance and resource allocation reviews

Originally published in the September 2018 issue of The State Education Standard, the journal of the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE).

This article draws on ideas generated as part of a partnership between The Education Trust and Education Resource Strategies to better understand and galvanize education leaders about resource equity - which we define as "the allocation and use of resources – people, time, and money – to create student experiences that enable all children to reach empowering, rigorous learning outcomes, no matter their race or income."

For more on this topic, see "What is Resource Equity?", "Toolkit: Advancing Equitable School Funding", and "From Financial Transparency to Equity", co-authored with Chiefs for Change.

 Excerpt of the article:

It matters quite a lot where states and districts spend education dollars and how. State policymakers who are intent on increasing educational and life outcomes for students—especially students of color and students from low-income families—must therefore pay close attention to variations in school level spending. Those data have been hard to come by. However, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) gives state leaders two new tools: school-level spending data and resource allocation reviews.

These two unsung provisions should not get lost in the shuffle of the many new requirements and opportunities in ESSA. Implemented well, they could drive real systems change for the most vulnerable students; implemented poorly, they will become another compliance exercise. State boards of education can help make the provisions meaningful by asking smart questions of their state education agencies.


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