Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Bipartisan coalition backs new school funding model

This merits a close reading. My sources tell me that this is a massive privatization ploy with minorities’ so-called interests legitimating this. Presumably, EMO’s (Education Management Organizations) will “help” our nations’ principals to manage all of this. Go to this link to see who has signed on. I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about this.


Bipartisan coalition backs new school funding model

WASHINGTON, DC—Key state and national education leaders, including three former Secretaries of Education, showed their support for a new school funding proposal released today by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, signaling a breakthrough in the decades-old war over the financing of public education in America.

“Closing the achievement gap is the civil rights issue of our time,” said former Secretary of Education Rod Paige, a trustee of the Fordham Institute. “Nearly everyone agrees that all young Americans should achieve at high levels regardless of class or special needs. But innumerable studies and plenty of direct experience show that a quality education costs more for some than it does for others. Under today’s school-funding arrangements, however, the children who need the greatest education resources frequently end up with the least.”

The proposal, Fund the Child: Tackling Inequity and Antiquity in School Finance (visit, is a “manifesto” that offers a comprehensive solution to the most pressing problems in American education, including funding disparities on many levels:

Between districts: 36 states have a funding gap between high poverty and low poverty districts that averages almost $900 per student, according to the Education Trust.
Within districts: The ten largest school districts in California alone have spending gaps between high- and low-minority schools that range from $64,000 to $500,000 per school (Education Trust).
Between school options: Students who opt out of their assigned district school (26 percent of students nationwide) often choose schools (e.g., charter schools) that receive markedly less—as much as 40 percent less—funding per child.

This new model, known as Weighted Student Funding (WSF), has three key elements that level the playing field for low-income students while widening their educational opportunities:

Funding follows the child to the public school that he/she attends.
Per-student funding is weighted to provide more resources based on a student’s specific needs and circumstances.
Resources arrive at the school as real dollars (not teaching positions, etc.) that can be spent flexibly with emphasis on results, not programs, activities, or other inputs.
“In this age of accountability,” Paige added, “school leaders need the authority to get the job done. Giving them more control over their budgets is a big part of the puzzle.”

In tandem with the release of the proposal, Fordham launched a new web site today,, where readers can learn more about Weighted Student Funding, add their name to the growing list of supporters, and see how this system stacks up against the so-called “65 percent solution,” which adds new regulations and further ties the hands of school leaders.

“The 65 percent solution is a gimmick that doesn’t begin to solve the biggest problems in school funding, much less education writ large,” remarked Fordham Institute president Chester E. Finn, Jr. “Weighted student funding isn’t a complete answer to every challenge that public schools face but it will eliminate the biggest funding disparities, foster equity, empower school leaders, and catalyze school choice. Reasonable folks from left, right, and center are rallying around WSF as the first serious, practical proposition to revolutionize the financing of U.S. public education for the 21st Century.”

To view the entire list of signatories, click here. To read the full proposal, visit

For hard copies, media requests for interviews, or further information, please contact Jennifer Leischer, Communications Manager, at 202-223-5452.

Nationally and in our home state of Ohio, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute strives to close America's vexing achievement gaps by raising standards, strengthening accountability, and expanding high-quality education options for parents and families. For more information about the Institute’s work, visit

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