School finance reform is a critical component of broader education reform. The U.S. Department of Education has recognized the importance of school finance by creating a new commission on Equity and Excellence, charged with making recommendations for restructuring school finance systems to achieve equity in the distribution of educational resources and further student performance. Since 90 percent of school funding is provided by state and local sources, state school finance systems are significant levers in any meaningful reform effort. The state of Rhode Island recently undertook the difficult process of reforming its school finance system and emerged with a new funding formula that incorporates many best practices in school finance. This case study is an encouraging example of stakeholder collaboration and provides valuable lessons for other states that are considering school finance reform.
Join the Center for American Progress for a conversation about the importance of school finance reform and its implications for achieving greater equity and increased student achievement. We will launch the conversation with comments by Christopher Edley, co-chair of the Equity and Excellence Commission. We will release a case study of the evolution and enactment of school finance reform in Rhode Island by Kenneth Wong, and will also release a new publication by Diana Epstein on measuring inequity in school funding.
Congressman Chaka Fattah, (D-PA)
Cynthia G. Brown , Vice President for Education Policy, Center for American Progress
Christopher Edley Jr., Dean, UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law; Co-Chair, Department of Education’s Equity and Excellence Commission
Dr. Kenneth Wong, Professor, Brown University
Anna Cano-Morales, Director of Strategic Partnerships, RI-CAN
Jon Fullerton, Executive Director, Center for Education Policy Research, Harvard University
Diana Epstein, Senior Education Policy Analyst, Center for American Progress