Big Ideas, Modern Education Funding

financial transparency

Financial transparency can help leaders get the most out of education dollars while shining light on their spending decisions. Technology has revolutionized how we live. Apps such Waze, Open Table, and You Need a Budget provide users with real-time information to help them avoid traffic, make restaurant reservations, and attain their financial goals. Yet public […]

Big Ideas, Student-Centered Education

student-centered education

American schools were designed for a world that no longer exists — a standardized model of education that prepared students for a factory economy. To succeed in today’s dynamic global economy, young people need different skills and mindsets that the factory model was not designed to foster. A focus on student-centered, innovative approaches is taking […]

Big Ideas, Modern Education Funding

funding flexibility

Empowering local leaders means giving more flexibility to those closest to the kids so they can make tradeoffs with scarce resources and innovate with how they deliver services. A strong, straightforward policy principle is that local leaders and families are best situated to make effective decisions with education resources and delivering services. However, state and […]

Big Ideas, Modern Education Funding

weighted student funding

The delivery of education dollars should be streamlined based on students’ needs using a weighted student formula so funding is fair, portable, and transparent. Most school finance formulas contain arbitrary and restrictive provisions that cause inequities and limit local discretion. Such funding streams should be eliminated so dollars can be freed up and used more […]

Big Ideas, Learning Opportunities

course access

WHAT IS COURSE ACCESS? Course access, also known as course choice, allows for families and students to select a variety of courses beyond what their school and school districts normally offer. The courses, which can be taught online or in person, can include everything from college classes and SAT preparation to welder training and industry […]

Big Ideas, Modern Education Funding

funding fairness

Education dollars should be equalized to ensure that funding is based on students, not property wealth or ZIP code. Public education is funded primarily by state and local revenue streams. Because local dollars are largely derived from property taxes, districts with greater property wealth often raise more revenue than those with less. As a result, […]

Big Ideas, Student-Centered Education


Microschools educate children in highly personalized environments that can be described as a 21st century take on the one-room schoolhouse. These intentionally small schools focus on individualized learning over standardization, harnessing student interests for learning, and creating tight-knit communities that build the bonds of trust that enable deep, meaningful learning. CHARACTERISTICS OF MICROSCHOOLS Although there […]

Big Ideas, Postsecondary Success

Skills-based hiring

Focus on hiring on demonstrated skills. Scroll through any job posting website and you’ll see a common theme: postings that require applicants to have at least a bachelor’s degree. Yet, major employers – including Google, Apple and Bank of America – are learning that generic degrees do not necessarily equate to the skills they need […]

Big Ideas, Postsecondary Success

Work-based learning opportunities

Career exposure and experience while in high school. Work-based learning policies and programs allow students to engage with employers and industries to improve career awareness and experiences while young people are still in high school. Programs usually begin with exposing students to an array of industries/occupations through job shadows, workplace tours, mentoring, etc.; followed by […]

Big Ideas, Postsecondary Success

Industry certifications

Earn valuable workplace credentials in high school. Industry certifications are industry-recognized credentials that demonstrate expertise in a specific area. Such credentials are valuable and necessary to work in a variety of occupations – from agriculture and manufacturing to information technology and health – and often convert to college credit as well. Given international demand for […]

Big Ideas, Postsecondary Success

College credit in high school

Receive early college credit via dual enrollment and other means. Dual enrollment policies (sometimes called concurrent enrollment) allow high school students to enroll in college courses that lead to credit in both the K-12 and postsecondary systems. Typically, it involves the student enrolling in classes at a local college while still enrolled in the K-12 […]