Education Week - February 28, 2018 - 19
is actually technical rather than political,
many state officials say.
In many states, there are hundreds of
districts, and not all districts in any one
state necessarily use the same finance software. While many large urban districts can
easily use their school finance software to
come up with school-level-spending data,
other districts cannot.
Illinois, like several other states, says
that many districts will need to update
their school finance software, a potentially
expensive and burdensome process.
In other states with especially complex
funding formulas, such as Delaware or Wyoming, officials are struggling to determine
how to break out state and local revenue
sources as ESSA requires.
But state officials and school finance experts who have seen school-level-spending
data say the hurdles states face now will
soon be all worth it.
They predict the information will lead to
robust discussions between policymakers
and parents about whether district and
school leaders are putting their money
where their mouths are.
Federal, state, and district leaders in recent years have heaped myriad initiatives on
schools to improve test scores. School-levelspending data, many predict, will reveal
whether the money behind those initiatives
is being directed as intended or, more crucially, how much money matters in the end.
Rhode Island is one of the few
states that collect school-by-school
spending data, soon to be required
under the Every Student Succeeds
Act. This map shows just how much
spending varies among schools
within individual districts.
With this information,
we'll be able to say, 'You're
spending the same amount
as several of your peers,
but your outcomes are
so much worse.' "
"I think it's critically important that we
activate the measures inside schools that
matter so much for kids," said Marguerite Roza, a school-finance expert based
at Georgetown University who has been
heavily involved in helping states comply with the law's requirement. "Parents
and educators have to believe they live in
a fair world. But we have not had that financial information to prove that to them.
With this information, we'll be able to say,
'You're spending the same amount as several of your peers, but your outcomes are
so much worse.' That's an entirely different
Average Per-Pupil Spending
Variation in Per-Pupil Spending
n $0 - $1,184
n 1,185 -1,527
n 1,528 -1,868
n 1,869 - 2,542
n 2,543 - 9,636
Bradford Elementary School, an isolated school in southwest Rhode Island
that officials debated closing last year,
has just 176 students. Per-pupil spending: $29,000.
And Block Island Elementary, a school
on an island with just 112 students, spends
close to $40,000 per student.
At a recent meeting at the state department's headquarters, professional groups,
advocates of charter schools, and practitioners from across the state debated ways to
make school spending levels public.
Many wondered how schools with high
levels of special education students would
be categorized and whether high-poverty
schools with harder-to-educate students
will be noted for having special needs.
The state will soon make the data available as part of its redesigned report card.
Researcher Linda Ouyang contributed to this
MULTIMEDIA: See how much districts spend
on each one of Rhode Island's schools.
SOURCE: Education Week Research Center
analysis of RIDE data, 2018. Data visualization
and analysis: Linda Ouyang and Konan Hui
Several Ed. Dept. Offices
Target of Reorganization
Officials say the goal is to make the agency
more efficient, transparent, and responsive
By Alyson Klein
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy
DeVos and her team are moving to
revamp the agency she's overseen
for just over a year, with a stated goal
of making it more efficient, transparent, collaborative, and responsive
to states, districts, and the general
The undertaking is part of a broader
effort throughout the administration
to reorganize government. Last year,
President Donald Trump asked all
Cabinet secretaries to take a hard
look at their agencies and find places
to streamline. A task force at the U.S.
Department of Education has been
working on that directive since last
The plan represents DeVos' longrange vision. Not all of it could be
put into place right away. Some key
pieces would require congressional
approval, and the department is still
figuring out which ones, a department
official said, who requested anonymity because it is not his job to talk to
"It's a vision statement as much as
anything else," the official said, noting
that the legislation creating the department was passed in 1979. It doesn't
make sense, the official said, for the
department to be operating in the 21st
century using the "best thinking" of the
'Do More With Less'
The plan calls for cutting down the
number of political appointees at the
department by about a third, from
roughly 150 to 100, the official said.
"I think we owe it to public to do
more with less," the official said. The
official noted that the number of career
staffers has declined over time, thanks
in part to the federal hiring freeze: "Political appointees have to share in that
It would also reduce the number of
positions that require Senate confirmation, the official said. DeVos has complained that the chamber is dragging
its feet in approving Trump's nominees
for key posts at her department. However, she's not the first secretary to experience that problem.
The biggest proposed change for
K-12: moving the office of innovation
and improvement, which oversees
programs dealing with charter schools
and private schools among other responsibilities, into the office of elementary and secondary education, the
main K-12 office. That change would
not require congressional sign-off.
The idea is to infuse innovation
throughout K-12 programs, not con-
fine it to one part of the agency. The
plan also calls for "eventually" shifting English-language acquisition into
the broader elementary and secondary education office. The thinking behind that: English-language learners
are an increasingly bigger slice of the
overall K-12 population, so it makes
sense that everyone working on K-12
programs would be focused on their
The plan would also get rid of the
undersecretary's office. In past administrations, the undersecretary has been
the No. 3 slot, in charge of postsecondary education programs.
It calls for combining the communications and outreach office with the
congressional-affairs office, to create
a broader office of legislation and congressional affairs. And it would merge
the chief financial officer, and some
responsibilities of the management
office, the deputy secretary, and planning, evaluation, and policy development, into a new finance and operations office.
Moreover, the blueprint calls for
integrating career, technical, and
adult education as well as postsecondary education into a single office
of postsecondary and lifelong learning. And it would fold the parts of the
deputy secretary's office into that of
The president's budget for fiscal
2019 calls for cutting the department's nearly $70 billion budget by
$3.6 billion, or 5.3 percent. But the official said the changes aren't intended
to conform with proposed spending
"We would be doing this whatever
the budget says," the official said.
Marshall Smith, who served in the
U.S. Department of Education under
five presidents from both parties, sees
the proposal as a mixed bag.
He's not sure it's a smart move to
merge the office of innovation with the
office of elementary and secondary education, given that technology is driving so much change in both K-12 and
"This is an extraordinary period,
they ought to have in that office an extraordinary person running it," Smith
But he likes the idea of melding the
offices that deal with post-secondary
education and career and technical
education. Both are relatively small
offices, Smith said, and their missions
are closely related.
And he thinks that cutting down on
the number of political appointees is a
smart move. Many political appointees
don't have the same expertise as career
staffers and tend to have a high turnover, Smith said.
EDUCATION WEEK | February 28, 2018 | www.edweek.org | 19
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - February 28, 2018
Education Week - February 28, 2018
News in Brief
Computer Science for All: Can Schools Make It Happen?
Pressure to Graduate Failing Students Is Felt Nationwide
U.K. Curriculum Import Becoming Increasingly Popular
Missouri Tackles Challenge of Dyslexia Screening, Services
Lost Sense of School As a Safe Place
Grief and Rage Drive Students To Demand Changes to Gun Laws
A Florida City Forever Changed
Lockdown Drills Prompt Fear, Stress After Parkland
A Long Journey Ahead Seen For Survivors of Shooting
On Social Media, Teens Witness, Grieve, Organize
Legal Issues Loom for District In Shooting’s Wake
One State’s Dive Into K-12 Aid Figures
States Confront ESSA Mandate on Spending Transparency
Several Ed. Dept. Offices Target of Reorganization
Trump Seeks Ed. Dept. Budget Cuts
The Editors: What Should Betsy DeVos Prioritize?
Margaret Spellings: Higher Education
Marilyn Anderson Rhames: Teacher Quality
Karla Phillips: Personalization
Maddie Fennell: Leadership by Example
Shaun M. Dougherty: Career and Tech Ed
Mike Tenbusch : The ‘Have Nots’
Rafiq R. Kalam Id-Din II: Racial-Equity Agenda
Erin McGrath: Lack of Choice
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Jerrod Wheeler: Impact Aid Is a Lifeline for Military-Connected Kids
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - Education Week - February 28, 2018
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - 2
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - 3
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - Report Roundup
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - 5
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - Computer Science for All: Can Schools Make It Happen?
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - Pressure to Graduate Failing Students Is Felt Nationwide
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - U.K. Curriculum Import Becoming Increasingly Popular
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - Missouri Tackles Challenge of Dyslexia Screening, Services
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - Lost Sense of School As a Safe Place
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - Grief and Rage Drive Students To Demand Changes to Gun Laws
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - A Florida City Forever Changed
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - 13
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - Lockdown Drills Prompt Fear, Stress After Parkland
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - A Long Journey Ahead Seen For Survivors of Shooting
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - Legal Issues Loom for District In Shooting’s Wake
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - 17
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - States Confront ESSA Mandate on Spending Transparency
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - Several Ed. Dept. Offices Target of Reorganization
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - Trump Seeks Ed. Dept. Budget Cuts
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - 21
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - Maddie Fennell: Leadership by Example
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - Erin McGrath: Lack of Choice
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - Letters
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - 25
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - 27
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - Jerrod Wheeler: Impact Aid Is a Lifeline for Military-Connected Kids
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - CW1
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - CW2
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - CW3
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - CW4