District Administration - March 2011 - (Page 12)
HAS IT COME TO THIS? Accused of lying about her address and falsifying records, Ohio mother Kelley Williams-Bolar was jailed for 10 days for sending her daughters to a school in a neighboring district. “I did this for my daughters,” WilliamsBolar told reporters. REVIVING VOUCHERS GOP House Speaker John Boehner introduced legislation to restore a school voucher program for students in Washington, D.C., two years after Congress began phasing it out. Mayor Vincent Gray opposes the program. AP COURSES STALLED Trevor Packer, vice president of Advanced Placement at the College Board, said the board is changing the AP U.S. history curriculum to increase the level of analytical thinking. The revised curriculum will be ready in 2013. GUTTING THE DOE Wake County (N.C.) Public Schools’ new superintendent, Anthony Tata, faces reports of resegregation and Title IX violations in the district. Tata is the former chief operating ofﬁcer for D.C. Public Schools and a retired Army general. SPECIAL ED FUNDING Four districts in Oklahoma will ﬁle a lawsuit against the state’s attorney general, Scott Pruitt, after he mandated districts to comply with a special ed bill allowing students to use money for their IEP plans to pay for private school tuition.
By Marion Herbert
How Productive Is Your District?
PER PUPIL SPENDING HAS VERY nearly tripled over the last 40 years. While some states have shown improvements in student achievement, others have remained stagnant. ese observations were noted in a new study, “Return on Educational Investment,” released Jan. 19 by the Center for American Progress. e study, which examined over 9,000 major districts in the United States, attempted to measure district productivity in relation to spending on education, while controlling for outside factors such as percentage of students in poverty. ( e Center for American Progress received the data from the National Center for Education Statistics and the New America Foundation.) Summary ﬁndings included: • Many school districts could boost student achievement without having to increase spending if they used their money more productively. • Eﬃciency varies widely within states. • Low productivity in districts costs the nation’s school system an estimated $175 billion each year. • Without controls on how additional school dollars are spent, more education spending will not automatically improve student outcomes. • More than 1 million students are enrolled in highly ineﬃcient schools. • States and districts fail to evaluate the productivity of schools and districts. “We know that expenditures have an impact on student achievement, but money only matters when it’s spent wisely,” says Ulrich Boser, author of the study and senior fellow with the Center for American Progress. According to Boser, the goal of this study is not to draw conclusions as to why one district was more productive than the other, but to generate a national conver-
sation surrounding educational productivity. “ is is more about moving away from the old model,” says Boser. Two districts compared in the study were Oshkosh (Wis.) Area Schools and Eau Claire (Wis.) Public Schools. Each district in central Wisconsin has roughly 10,000 students and 30 percent of its students qualifying for free or reducedprice lunches, and test scores and student achievement levels are similar. e notable diﬀerence, according to the study, is that Eau Claire spends $330 more per student each year—or roughly $3 million total. e study notes that Eau Claire may be getting value elsewhere for its additional spending but that student outcome appears to be roughly the same. Oshkosh spent 65 percent of its budget on costs associated with teaching, while Eau Claire spent just 59 percent. “ ese diﬀerent priorities have a large impact on the districts’ budgets,” says the report. “Eau Claire is spending more to get largely similar outcomes—and taxpayers should be asking why.” To read the full report, visit www .americanprogress.org.
AP PHOTO/ROB CARR
Return on Educational Investment
A district-by-district evaluation of U.S. educational productivity
Ulrich Boser January 2011
W W W.AMERICANPROGRESS.ORG
12 March 2011
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration - March 2011
District Administration - March 2011
From the Editor
Learning Gets Personal
What’s Your Data Integration Strategy?
Global Learning Scales Up
New Approach to Reeling in Tech Funding
Facilities of Environmental Distinction
District Administration - March 2011