Eric.ed.gov – The State’s Priority Opportunities to Support Education Reform in Georgia through Resource Reallocation

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Nationwide, states face declining or plateauing investments in education. These financial constraints, coupled with increased standards for student achievement through the widespread adoption of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), create a heightened need for strategic resource use. However, districts are not currently using resources strategically, as research suggests that 40 cents out of every dollar are spent on practices not aligned with district or state priorities. Therefore, the role of the state today is not only to allocate resources, but also to ensure those resources are used effectively. The state of Georgia leads many others in addressing this issue, having engaged in a series of statewide reforms to grant Local Education Agencies (LEAs) greater flexibility over how they use district resources in exchange for greater accountability over student outcomes. Georgia’s Flexibility Options program is at the cutting edge of similar efforts across the country. Education Resource Strategies’ (ERS) recent deep exploration of K-12 resource use across Georgia, funded through Race to the Top, suggests that Georgia’s ongoing reform efforts could be strengthened if they evolve an increasingly strategic and targeted role with respect to education reform. Ensuring that this effort leads to districts using resources in the most efficient and effective way takes time. In ERS’ RT3 project–a two-year partnership with Georgia’s Department of Education–findings revealed Georgia’s resource restructuring opportunities could represent as much as twenty-eight cents of every dollar spent on K-12 education. As a result, three priority reallocation opportunities have been identified, which extend across the state and represent a significant investment in activities that are not likely to generate significant improvements in student learning. These three reallocation opportunities stem from: (1) an over-reliance on whole-day class-size reduction; (2) state and LEA compensation structures that compensate teachers according to years of experience and education credits instead of teaching effectiveness and contribution; and (3) insufficient provision of quality instructional time for students struggling in math and ELA to catch up with proficient peers. The study also identified three ways in which the state can help promote or foster better resource use within Georgia LEAs: (1) Foster district and school flexibility to meet student needs within their district and school contexts; (2) Leverage the existing collection and use of data, especially teaching-effectiveness data, to better inform district-level decision making with regard to staffing, budgeting, and scheduling; and (3) Provide targeted support to districts to help incubate or spread promising practices. This paper provides insight into resource restructuring opportunities and prioritizes actions that transform the state’s role, so that it can make the most of its resources of people, money, and time to improve the education of all its students. The following is appended: Quality Basic Education (QBE) Details.

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Troels Gannerup Christensen

Jeg er ansat som adjunkt hos Læreruddannelsen i Jelling, hvor jeg underviser i matematik, specialiseringsmodulet teknologiforståelse, praktik m.m. Jeg har tidligere været ansat som pædagogisk konsulent i matematik og tysk hos UCL ved Center for Undervisningsmidler (CFU) i Vejle og lærer i udskolingen (7.-9. klasse) på Lyshøjskolen i Kolding. Jeg er ejer af og driver bl.a. hjemmesiderne www.lærklokken.dk og www.iundervisning.dk, ggbkursus.dk og er tidligere fagredaktør på matematik på emu.dk. Jeg går ind for, at læring skal være let tilgængelig og i størst mulig omfang gratis at benytte.

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