In a new report titled Making Change: Favorable Conditions for Education Finance Reform EdBuild looks at three states who successfully reformed their school funding formulas to increase the state share of funding and decrease the amount of interdistrict variation of funds. Although many of the factors leading to Vermont, Michigan, and Wyoming’s successes were localized and context-specific, EdBuild extrapolates six lessons that apply generally to other states.
- Policy change in the arena of school funding is iterative and may take several years.
- Even in the context of an equity-advancing policy, it may be pragmatic to offer some moderate concessions to the preferences of affluent communities and taxpayers.
- Consolidation of one-party control can clear the way for reform after failed attempts.
- Equity-advancing policies are aided when the state constitution enshrines education as a fundamental right.
- It may be easier to correct interdistrict inequities that lack a racial dimension.
- It may be easier to enact redistributive policies when wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few.
The report, by offering advice on both political savvy and policy wonkiness in the funding reform space, is an excellent resource for advocates both testing the waters for funding reform or in the midst of a very long swim. Advocates can use this report to measure their likelihood of success on funding reform and help guide their strategic decision making.