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Examining the results in districts using portable student fundingDecember 5, 2013
The Houston Independent School District scored an A+ thanks to significant test score improvements by disadvantaged students and a significant closing of the achievement gap between affluent and low-income students, according to Reason Foundation’s new Weighted Student Formula Yearbook.
Examining 14 school districts currently using portable student funding, the Weighted Student Formula Yearbook grades and ranks each district in 10 categories, including test scores, achievement gaps, graduation rates, and transparency.
“Some of the country’s largest school districts are now using portable or backpack funding systems that allow money to follow students to their schools,” said Lisa Snell, co-author of the report and director of education at Reason Foundation. “This study gives us the ability to make apples-to-apples comparisons, identify what’s helping kids, and flag what may need to be done differently.”
Houston outperformed all other districts, scoring an A+ in the rankings due in large part to an impressive reduction in achievement gaps. Hartford, Cincinnati and Oakland were the other districts earning A grades. Minneapolis, San Francisco, Boston and Poudre (CO) received B grades. Baltimore’s poor proficiency rates in reading, math, and science along with large achievement gaps between students of different income levels resulted in the report’s only F. The study’s rankings and grades are:
Budgeting control, choice, competition, and weighted student funding formula increase school performanceSeptember 3, 2013
In 2013, District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) students in traditional public schools and charter schools made significant academic gains, giving validation to DCPS’s ongoing school reform efforts. Test score data from the 2013 D.C. Comprehensive Assessment System shows that in traditional public schools students improved their proficiency in math and reading by 3.6 percentage points and 3.9 percentage points respectively, bringing proficiency rates to 49.5 percent for math and 47.4 percent for reading. Charter schools in the district have improved even more, with a 58.6 percent proficiency rate in math and 53 percent proficiency rate in reading. These scores reflect rapid improvement from the pre-reform performance of 2007 when district proficiency rates in reading (34.7 percent proficient) and math (28.5 percent proficient) were less than 35 percent.
The higher performance of DCPS’s charter schools helps make a compelling case that more should be done to offer all DC schools more charter-like autonomies so school leaders can use resources to make decisions that best meet the needs of their students. Charter schools doing so well on reading and math tests give principals more autonomy and the ability to use their budget authority to drive instructional change, such as implementing new programs tailored to their student’s needs.
Governor Brown’s New School Funding Program Shows Promise, but Lacks Mechanisms to Ensure Transparency and EquityJuly 1, 2013, 1:44pm
View Resources by Type
- Weighted Student Formula Yearbook 2013
Examining the results in districts using portable student funding
Lisa Snell and Katie Furtick
December 5, 2013
- Weighted Student Funding for California
Three Reasons Governor Brown’s School Funding Plan is Better than the Status Quo and Three Big Ideas to Make the Plan Even Better
May 31, 2013
- A Handbook for Student-Based Budgeting, Principal Autonomy and School Choice
Making school funding more equitable and transparent
March 5, 2013
- School Choice, Charter Schools, and Trends In Educational Privatization
Education Chapter of Annual Privatization Report 2010
Lisa Snell and Leonard Gilroy
February 15, 2011
- Where Did the Money Go? An Analysis of Spending and Revenue in Nebraska and Surrounding States, 2002-2008
Adam Summers, Leonard Gilroy and Lisa Snell
August 3, 2010
- Fix the Schools
Close failing schools, open charter schools and replicate great schools
Policy Brief 87
March 15, 2010
- Weighted Student Formula Yearbook 2009
Examining the school districts using student-based "backpack" funding to improve results
April 30, 2009
- Weighted Student Formula Yearbook 2013 (12/5)
- Accelerate DC Public School Improvement Through Charter-Like Autonomy (9/3)
- Missouri Schools Need Tenure Reform and Weighted Student Formula (8/29)
- The Potential of Student-Based Budgeting for Florida (7/1)
- Governor Brown’s New School Funding Program Shows Promise, but Lacks Mechanisms to Ensure Transparency and Equity (7/1)
Experts: Weighted Student Formula
- Lisa Snell
Director of Education
RSS Feeds: Weighted Student Formula
Media ContactChris Mitchell
Director of Communications
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