Pondering Chartering: What do we know about administrative and instructional spending?

School Finance 101

In a recent report, Gary Miron and I discuss some of the differences in resource allocation practices between Charter operators and district schools.  Among other things, we discuss the apparently high administrative expenses of charter operators. But in that same report, we explain that some of these higher administrative expenses, and, as a result lower instructional expenses, result from bad policy structures that constrain resource allocation and/or induce seemingly illogical behaviors.

Some have pointed out to me that this assertion of higher administrative and lower instructional expense by charter operators runs counter claims made by Dale Russakoff in her book The Prize. My doc student Mark Weber has already thoroughly rebutted Russakoff’s anecdotal claims.  Put bluntly. Those claims were supported only by anecdote and run in contrast with the larger body of data in New Jersey (see Mark’s post) and larger literature on the topic. The summary below…

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Helpful Post by EdWeek

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is going through Congress. This is the most recent re-authorization of ESEA (which turned into No Child Left Behind Act.)

Here is the link: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2015/11/esea_reauthorization_the_every.html

Here is some of the explanation:

The top-line stuff: The ESSA is in many ways a U-turn from the current, much-maligned version of the ESEA law, the No Child Left Behind Act.

States would still have to test students in reading and math in grades 3 through 8 and once in high school, and break out the data for whole schools, plus different “subgroups” of students (English-learners, students in special education, racial minorities, those in poverty).

But beyond that, states get wide discretion in setting goals, figuring out just what to hold schools and districts accountable for, and deciding how to intervene in low-performing schools. And while tests still have to be a part of state accountability systems, states must incorporate other factors that get at students’ opportunity to learn, like school-climate and teacher engagement, or access to and success in advanced coursework.

States and districts will have to use locally-developed, evidence-based interventions, though, in the bottom 5 percent of schools and in schools where less than two-thirds of students graduate. States must also flag for districts schools where subgroup students are chronically struggling.

The federal School Improvement Grant program is gone, but there are resources in the bill states can use for school turnarounds.

And, in a big switch from the NCLB waivers, there would be no role for the feds whatsoever in teacher evaluation.

Go to the link to read more: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2015/11/esea_reauthorization_the_every.html

To me the bill seems like a pull back from the federal role and a lot of nominal reform that won’t achieve much, but this is a preliminary opinion and I have to read more about it.