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Resource Equity: A Primer for State Boards of Education

Five key questions state leaders should ask about equity

At the 2018 National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) annual conferenceKaren Hawley Miles presented on Strategies to Foster Resource Equity to an audience of about 100 state leaders from all over the country - including Arizona, North Carolina, and Kentucky. Karen shared:

  • What ERS means by resource equity
  • How the states compare in terms of performance, spending, and equity
  • Five key questions every state should ask about equity
  • Levers to improve resource equity and the role states can play


The presentation contained the five key questions help states get to root causes of equity or inequity. They are:

  • How does your state compare in terms of overall performance? Subgroup performance? 
  • How does your state compare in terms of overall spending? Equity in funding across districts?
  • How much does spending vary within districts based on need?
  • Does your state support and enable school leaders to organize resources to accelerate learning for ALL students?
  • Does your state report useful resource equity data to inform decision making and support?

Audience members reported that they were inspired by data which shows how resources are, and are not, being used to advance equity and left with some specific next steps, like "Check if we have a state policy on resource allocation reviews in the lowest performing schools."

Related Resources

Before states can address resource equity, they must address the issue of funding adequacy. Low-funded states also typically have low teacher compensation, which is associated with teacher shortage and teacher quality challenges. The resources below explore teacher compensation more in-depth and can be used to better understand the impact of inadequate state funding and help advocate for reform.

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