Ever been frustrated trying to understand a school budget?
Ever wondered why your school gets however much money it gets — and why other schools seem to get mysteriously more or less?
Well, there's a funding idea floating out there that would be good for everyone in the educational system, including students, parents, teachers and administrators. It's called weighted student funding.
Roughly speaking, the idea is that funding should "follow children" to the schools that they attend. The amount of money would depend on the "difficulty" of educating the student. For example, English language learners would get a higher funding allocation than students who are already proficient in English.
1. Funding should follow the child, on a per-student basis, to the public school that he attends.
2. Per-student funding should vary according to a child’s need and other relevant circumstances.
3. The funds should arrive at the school as real dollars (i.e., not teaching positions, ratios or staffing norms) that can be spent flexibly, with accountability gauged by results, not inputs, programs or activities.
4. These principles for allocating money to schools should apply to all levels (e.g., federal funds going to states, state funds going to districts, districts to schools).
5. All funding systems should be simplified and made transparent.
You can learn more on their Web site or check out this example of how it could be implemented. There's also a long list of education leaders and politicos from both sides of the aisle who think it's a good idea.
I think this would be a good deal for parents. It makes schools and school systems more responsive to parent needs, gives local schools more power to "buy" what they really need, and allows everyone to track the money more easily. I'm going to sign my name onto this, and I encourage you to think about signing, too.