Show Me the Money

Show Me the Money

The new Digital Learning Now! Whitepaper by John Bailey, Carri Schneider, and Tom Vander Ark concludes that today’s school finance system was not created with the flexibility needed to support the wave of educational innovations exploding in schools. The authors make the following recommendations to create scalable financial systems that will be flexible enough to meet the needs of technology growth:

Weighted: Funding should reflect individual student needs by attaching “weights” to student funding amounts, based on factors that affect the cost of educating certain students, such as poverty, special needs, ELL/LEP, or gifted.

Flexible: A flexible finance system does not restrict funds or designate them for particular uses, such as salaries, and thus creates greater school-level autonomy.

Portable: The principle of portability ensures that dollars can follow students to the school or course that best suits their individual needs—including fractional funding for full-time or part-time options.

Performance-Based: To ensure quality, a performance-based system creates incentives tied to student outcomes that reward performance and completion. Options include attaching a portion of provider payment and/or eligibility to student achievement data.