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States and School District Reform


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ERS articulates for states what we know about district resource use and how states' policies can best help district efforts. ERS Director Don Hovey’s gave this presentation in Miami at the Governors’ Education Policy Advisors (GEPA) Institute for the National Governor’s Association on April 26. The presentation focused on helping states to understand our perspective on strategic resource use, the district transformational strategies and the top ten ways that states can support and enable strategic resource transformation.

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States and School District Reform

  1. 1. Tough Times Enable Resource Transformation: State Role in Districts’ Doing More with Less GEPA Institute, Miami, Florida April 26, 2010
  2. 2. Education Resource Strategies • ERS is a non-profit consulting firm, head-quartered in Boston • We work with leaders of public school systems to rethink the use of district and school-level resources • We analyze district spending, human resources, school organization and performance data to generate insight around resource strategies • We leverage this insight to design new ways to allocate and organize resources at the district and school level • Our work is grounded in over a decade of experience, working with school districts across the country Fundamental Message: It’s not just how much, it’s how well EDUCATION RESOURCE STRATEGIES, INC. 2
  3. 3. Despite increased spending achievement gaps persist From 1970 to 2005 : • Real spending doubled from $3,800 to $8,700 per pupil • 80% of increase went toward adding staff positions and increasing benefits while educator salaries remained flat in real dollars* • Spending on special education programs has gone from 4 to 21% of district budgets while regular education spending has dropped from 80% to 55%** * Parthenon group analysis, 2008 **Richard Rothstein, Where has the money gone? 2009 EDUCATION RESOURCE STRATEGIES, INC.
  4. 4. Overall class sizes have decreased, but basic structure of schooling has remained the same Source: Digest of Education Statistics 2007: Tables 61, 64, and 66 EDUCATION RESOURCE STRATEGIES, INC. 4
  5. 5. New spending has increased the number of staff, but not the quality 100% 90% All other non-staff 80% 70% Increase in Benefits Rate 60% Increase in SPED staff 50% 40% Increase in number of Non-Teachers 30% (excl. SPED) 20% Increase in Number of 10% Teachers (excl. SPED) 0% Growth in Per Pupil Expenditure (1970 to 2005) Source: The Parthenon Group, 2007 from NCES; Educational Research Service; Parthenon Analysis EDUCATION RESOURCE STRATEGIES, INC. 5
  6. 6. Despite federal stimulus funding, trends in revenue and spending continue… • Teaching salaries growing at ~3-5% annually • Benefits growing at ~10+% annually • SPED staff/student continues to grow • Tax revenue falling • Enrollment declining • State stabilization funds are filling the revenue gap (but only temporarily) EDUCATION RESOURCE STRATEGIES, INC. 6
  7. 7. In tough times, districts usually hunker down… • Across the board spending cuts • Cut “non-classroom” spending - Teacher professional development - Collaborative planning time - Coaches • Layoff junior teachers without regard to teacher results or contribution Less support for teachers Less support for students EDUCATION RESOURCE STRATEGIES, INC. 7
  8. 8. The districts we have are not the systems we need WE NEED WE HAVE • Schools and students with same needs receiving Equitable, transparent, different levels of resources and flexible funding • Unintelligible or unreported school budgets across schools • Rigidly defined budgets that don’t match needs • Limited investment in recruiting, screening, & induction Effective teaching for all • Teaching jobs that promote burnout and isolation students • Salary and job structures that do not encourage effectiveness and contribution School designs that maximize teaching • Traditional schedules and staffing that do not effectiveness, academic match time and individual attention to priority time and individual needs or foster professional working conditions attention EDUCATION RESOURCE STRATEGIES, INC. 8
  9. 9. The districts we have are not the systems we need WE NEED WE HAVE Aligned curriculum, • Underinvestment in formative assessments Instruction, assessment, PD and fragmented professional development • Limited investment to build and reward Strong school and district leadership effectiveness over career leaders • Principal jobs that don’t allow for innovation Central services that foster • Central office services that are not designed empowerment, accountability to improve productivity or customize support and efficiency to school needs • District pays too much for social services and Partnership with families and non-core instruction that could be provided communities through community partners EDUCATION RESOURCE STRATEGIES, INC. 9
  10. 10. Teacher compensation is the biggest single expense category in education – how is it directed? Breakout of district What drives that spend spend on teacher on teacher compensation compensation? 100% 100% 90% 90% 80% 80% 70% 70% 60% Social 60% Security 50% 50% Contribution Pension 40% 40% Education Experience 30% Benefits 30% Base 20% 20% 10% Salaries 10% 0% 0% District A District B Spending ERS Estimates based on district salary schedules and budget data District B has a “pay for performance” program EDUCATION RESOURCE STRATEGIES, INC. 10
  11. 11. We see a cycle of isolation and specialization developing that pushes resources away from core instruction Diverse, high-needs classes Class size reduction can Teachers under-prepared to weaken provide core instruction to all teacher quality Provide additional support: Create supplemental Extended learning opportunities service requirements Instructional aides Pull-outs Administration to coordinate, monitor special services Resources and responsibility move away from core instruction EDUCATION RESOURCE STRATEGIES, INC. 11
  12. 12. Which is reflected in a huge gap between a regular education class size of 23 and 7:1 staff to student ratio in this district Example District: Elementary and Secondary School-Level Staffing Ratios Regular Class Size 23 Regular Ed Student Teacher Ratio 17 Pupils per Teacher 12 Pupils per Instructor 10 Pupils per Professional 9 Pupils per Staff 7 0 10 20 30 EDUCATION RESOURCE STRATEGIES, INC. 12
  13. 13. Mandates and inflexibility make differentiating time and attention where needed difficult to do Core Academic Time by HS AVERAGE CLASS SIZE 80% Subject in HS 70% 8% 25 23 8% Foreign 60% Core 16% 16% Language 20 18 Social Studies 50% Non-core 40% 14% 14% Science 15 30% 15% Math 10 17% 20% ELA 5 10% 20% 17% 0% 0 District C District B District B EDUCATION RESOURCE STRATEGIES, INC. GEPA Institute April 2010 13
  14. 14. Top 10 things states can do in “tough times” to focus resources to their most productive uses … 1. Revise funding systems to promote equity and flexibility 2. Revamp teacher compensation, including benefits and pensions, to increase compensation for teachers who have the best results and contribute the most to improving student performance 3. Overhaul regulations that strictly define specific staff positions and use of school time 4. Rethink graduation requirements that are linked to taking specific courses rather than demonstrating skills and knowledge EDUCATION RESOURCE STRATEGIES, INC. 14
  15. 15. Top 10 things states can do… 5. Create new models of accountability and support for special education and English language learners that redirect resources to more integrated settings 6. Insist on turnaround strategies that restructure existing resources and consider district-wide impact, including the challenge of displaced teachers 7. Invest in statewide leadership development and succession planning, including providing information tools EDUCATION RESOURCE STRATEGIES, INC. 15
  16. 16. Top 10 things states can do… 8. Remove barriers to creative provision of education and support services by untraditional providers 9. Promote the use of technology as a productivity improvement tool in education and school support services 10. Report useful comparative data on school and district resource use that includes information on spending by student as well as on the use and organization of resources EDUCATION RESOURCE STRATEGIES, INC. 16
  17. 17. States need to adapt and create the conditions to help districts excel in current environment Industrial Model Information Age Rules Guidance & Best Practice models Compliance TO Information & Accountability Enforcement Support Qualification - Inputs Quality - Outcomes EDUCATION RESOURCE STRATEGIES, INC. 17
  18. 18. As we heard, there is no silver bullet, one size fits all – it is important to thoughtfully prioritize strategies EASY NO YES the time and effort make the change don’t make sense NOW! Ease of Implementation (barriers ex: contracts, MAYBE YES required, human capacity and political if you need a quick or plan changes over the will) political win LT and prioritize based on achievement impact HARD LOW HIGH District Impact (magnitude of misalignment) EDUCATION RESOURCE STRATEGIES, INC. 18
  19. 19. Thank You! New Web Address: