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Weighted Student Funding or Dividing the Scraps at the Table?

Weighted Student Funding or Dividing the Scraps at the Table?

On Friday, September 8th, at the Center for American Progress in Washington, DC, Michael Rebell, Executive Director of The Campaign for Educational Equity joined TC's Professor Arlene Ackerman and TC Board Member John Merrow for a lively debate on "Fund the Child: A Debate on Weighted Student Formula -Will it work and can we do it?"  Merrow moderated the debate that included Rebell, Ackerman, John Podesta, President and CEO of the Center for American Progress and former chief of staff to President William J. Clinton and Ron Paige, former U.S. Secretary of Education under President George W. Bush and a trustee of The Thomas B. Fordham Institute.

In June of this year, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute released a report calling for dramatic changes in how public education is financed. They were joined by a bipartisan group of 75 distinguished past and current government officials, educators, and researchers. The report, "Fund the Child: Tackling Inequity and Antiquity in School Finance" advocates for weighted student funding where a real dollar amount, determined solely on the educational needs of the child, "follows" the child as he or she moves between schools or even districts.

At the debate, Rebell argued that until there is an adequate amount of funding for education, weighted student funding will not get to the underlying problem facing schools and districts today -- lack of resources.  "Weighted student funding is being promoted as an idea that will eliminate inequity in the distribution of school resources.  But all it is really doing is rearranging the scraps at the table more fairly.  This is a classic example of robbing Peter to pay Paul -- where neither ends up with enough," said Rebell.  According to Rebell, a necessary precondition to weighted student funding is insuring enough money to meet the resource needs of all students in order to satisfy the high standards set by the states and NCLB.

 You can view the entire debate on the Center for America Progress' web site.  Go to:

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