Finance Policy in Service to Learning
What role does finance policy have in transforming learning for all students?
CIE has taken up this strand of work to respond to the fact that, along with accountability and professional certification and licensure, educators identify finance policy as a key legacy system barrier to implementing systems of personalized, competency-based learning at scale. The Center began work with state and local education officials to develop policy options that would pair increased local flexibility in use of funds with new models of district-led accountability. To achieve transformative impact at the systems level, work in finance policy needs to address two dimensions:
Equitable distribution of resources from the state level, and
How those resources are allocated at the local level.
Most recently, this work has focused on helping states who are asking if changing from a system that funds schools based on enrollment to a system that funds schools based on completion will generate meaningful learning gains. This emerging shift in emphasis from spending to outcomes coincides with the push to develop a broader set of student success indicators in competency-based systems, including portfolio assessments and competency-based achievements. To support state and local decision-making and productive debate, CIE published a study in late 2016 on a completion-based funding model operating successfully in one state and a companion thought-piece calling states’ attention to possible unintended consequences of such a shift.