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Opportunity to Promote Resource Equity through Resource Allocation Reviews

Organizing resources to support students with the greatest learning needs is a powerful lever for creating more high-quality and equitable student experiences. Resources don’t just include money—they also include the people and time needed to create student experiences that ensure high learning outcomes.

State education agencies (SEAs) have multiple levers at their disposal to support their districts in developing a more targeted approach to resource use. They can create and share statewide data tools that give districts insight into current patterns and guidance on which metrics can inform and shape strategy development. SEAs can also release guidance and create flexibilities that allow districts to organize resources in new and different ways. SEAs can also provide technical assistance and incentives to share, promote, and support the implementation of best practices in resource use.

Supporting their districts in reviewing how resources are currently allocated across schools is an important first step state education agencies can take to strengthen use of resources for students across their states. The Resource Allocation Reviews (RAR) required under the 2015 Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) must be conducted by state education agencies to support targeted, high needs districts and the schools they serve. While required for compliance, these resource allocation reviews give state leaders a strategic entry point for creating the enabling conditions needed for stronger resource use. 


New Resources for State Leaders

Through our Alliance for Resource Equity (ARE) partnership with the Education Trust, Education Resource Strategies (ERS) has identified the 10 resource dimensions that have the greatest impact on student experiences and outcomes, including resources related to teacher and school leader quality, and student curricular and scheduling experiences. And, we have created a do-it-yourself (DIY) resource equity diagnostic toolkit that can support systems in using data to understand how resources are distributed across these dimensions.

State education agencies can use these ARE resources to guide their Resource Allocation Reviews, as they give guidance on which metrics are key to assessing equity, and how analyzing those metrics can support stronger discussions about resource allocation and resulting student experiences.


Learn more below about how ERS has been using the dimensions of equity and the DIY toolkit to support state education agencies in conducting Resource Allocation Reviews in a strategic and comprehensive way. 



Spotlight on South Carolina

ERS worked with the South Carolina Department of Education’s Office of School Transformation (OST) to support them both in developing an RAR process for their first cohort of district participants, and in training their staff to lead those conversations with districts.

ERS supported South Carolina in conducting these reviews in a variety of ways:

  • We led a three-part training series on resource equity for the OST team, building both their understanding of resource equity and their capacity to lead RAR discussions with their districts.
  • We used their existing state data to develop school funding analyses for each of their participating districts, and provided them with analysis workbooks to auto-populate metrics for the other resource dimensions. 
  • We also developed a customized resource allocation review discussion protocol that could be used by their team to guide their discussions with districts about trends in current resource allocation, and barriers and opportunities to creating more equitable resource use and distribution.

South Carolina was able to use these trainings and resources to lead the review process in their state and make targeted recommendations to their districts across each dimension of equity. 

“Our partnership with ERS was integral in designing the RAR process for our state. The collaborative meetings and tools that they provided truly supported us in navigating through designing an impactful RAR process.”

Kimberly Mack, Director, Office of School Transformation, South Carolina Department of Education 

State leaders have a responsibility to support their districts and school leaders in providing every student with equitable access to a high-quality education and can use these Resource Allocation Reviews to make data-driven recommendations that will truly move the needle for kids.



Interested in partnering with ERS on Resource Allocation Reviews?

CONTACT Betty Chang


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