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Fund the Child

Tackling Inequality and Antiquity in School Finance

Funding that truly “follows” the child means moving a real dollar amount between school budgets as a specific child moves between schools or even districts. The school that the child attends then decides how to spend the funds. The system we propose is not a set percentage of education dollars to be spent in the classroom—it is a fundamental shift in the philosophy of public education funding. Buildings, programs, and staff positions are not funded—kids are.

This paper is a call on policymakers to transform the school funding system in service of meeting our high ambitions for student learning. We envision a transparent system in which:

  • funding from all levels follows every student to whatever public school he or she attends;
  • the amount varies according to the student’s needs;
  • funding arrives at schools as real dollars that can be spent flexibly, with accountability gauged by results rather than inputs, programs, or activities.

Fund the Child report (PDF)

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