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ERIC Number: ED537478
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Nov
Pages: 28
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Getting down to Dollars and Cents: What Do School Districts Spend to Deliver Student-Centered Learning?
Miller, Lawrence J.; Gross, Betheny; Ouijdani, Monica
Center on Reinventing Public Education
In the era of No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top, school districts are under increasing pressure from policymakers to hold all students to high performance standards. In response, a growing number of schools are embracing the principles of student-centered learning (SCL). SCL is a contemporary approach that combines progressive and constructivist philosophies, an approach that incorporates real-life experiences into learning, with the technologies readily available to today's schools. More and more districts and schools are making plans to incorporate the principles of SCL. Research, however, offers little guidance on the practical finance and policy issues associated with redesigning schools to embrace these principles. Real concerns about the level of district spending needed to bring about and sustain such ambitious changes must be addressed to help schools and districts expand SCL programs. In this report the authors explore these practical questions: (1) How do high schools put SCL principles into practice?; (2) What resources do high schools need to implement SCL strategies, and how do they compare to the resources required by schools using traditional curricula and pedagogy?; and (3) Do SCL schools use their resources differently than schools with traditionally structured models? The authors answer these questions through seven comparative case studies of district spending on public high schools located in six states--Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Washington--as well as a statistical analysis of 79 SCL high schools in New York City. They compare district spending on SCL schools to district spending on similar schools offering a traditional curriculum that are located within or near the sample schools' districts. In general, they found district spending on SCL schools to be similar to district spending on the matched comparison schools they studied. But for districts to keep spending on SCL schools in check, they will need to provide schools with resource flexibility; impose hard budget constraints to incentivize decision-making about preferred resources, possibly including co-location of small SCL schools; and enlist the support of the community to contribute both in-kind and non-district financial resources. (Contains 1 box, 2 figures, 4 tables, and 28 footnotes.) [This study was conducted with the School of Public Affairs and Administration at Rutgers-Newark.]
Center on Reinventing Public Education. University of Washington Bothell Box 358200, Seattle, WA 98195. Tel: 206-685-2214; Fax: 206-221-7402; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Nellie Mae Foundation
Authoring Institution: University of Washington, Center on Reinventing Public Education
Identifiers - Location: Illinois; Maine; Massachusetts; New York; Ohio; Pennsylvania; Washington