Alabama Releases School-Level Spending Data
August 4, 2019
Thanks to ESSA’s financial transparency requirements, the public in Alabama is getting a closer look at how much schools are spending to educate the state’s children. These numbers, writes Trisha Powell Crain for AL.com, are “all over the map, varying widely between districts and between schools—even in the same district, and she makes the claim that there is no clear link between dollars spent per pupil and student outcomes.” We take issue with this comment, the link may not be readily apparent, but we worry this type of language conveys a message that spending doesn’t matter. It does! The takeaway may not be about how much is spent overall, but about how the allotted amount is spent, and whether the students most in need are getting the types of programs, resources and supports they need. ESSA’s new PPE data must be used for thoughtful analysis of how we can help use limited funds in the best way possible. We encourage states to review this data with an equity lens and to find the links that can drive real student improvement.