Stand believes every child, regardless of where he or she is from, is entitled to a high‑quality education. The simple reality is it takes money to make that happen, but too often, our schools don’t have enough money or the money doesn’t go where it’s needed most.
There not only needs to be enough money, but the money needs to be spent wisely to maximize student achievement. Simply spending more does not guarantee better results for students. To improve student achievement, schools must align funding to student achievement goals and provide extra support for the populations of students who need it most. Schools that serve large populations of students living in poverty, students with disabilities, rural schools, and English learners need extra funding.
KEY AREAS OF WORK
Ensure states provide enough funding for schools
Advocate to make sure districts and schools put money where it’s needed most
Support districts to make budget decisions based on evidence of what works
WHAT THE RESEARCH SAYS
Money matters. Both how much money a school has AND how it is used are critical to student success.
School resources matter. Schooling resources that cost money, including smaller class sizes at early ages, additional supports for students with learning differences, early childhood programs, and better teacher pay are positively associated with student outcomes.
School finance reform matters. Sustained improvements to the level, distribution, and equitable allocation of financial inputs can lead to the improvement in the level and distribution of student outcomes.
WHAT STAND IS DOING ABOUT IT
At Stand, we are open to working with strong collaborators who have ideas for increasing resources that will raise student achievement. However, we want those additional dollars to show a return on investment and be resistant to economic downturns – they should be as long-term, predictable, and sustainable as possible. One-time fixes and gimmicks aren't going to work. We need to do what’s right. To include higher education in the full spectrum of reform and funding, we believe that at a minimum $1.5 billion in state funding is still needed.
That means we are committed to an education funding package being passed this year, through whatever means necessary. This can be accomplished through legislative action, a legislative referral, or a citizen’s initiative. We are working with multiple partners to create and support a viable school funding plan that continues to raise teacher pay.
The market is responding to negative pressures – according to the Wall Street Journal, teachers are leaving the profession at the highest rate ever. New data in Arizona shows figures are worse than last year: 75% of teacher positions remain vacant or not filled with standard teacher requirements compared to 63% one year ago, and 914 teachers resigned or abandoned their job this school year, compared to 866 one year ago.
The market is continuing to demand that we improve the pay and working conditions of teachers. If we don’t respond to that demand, our academic stagnation will turn into an outright free fall.