January 31, 2023

Making Change: A State Advocacy Playbook for Equitable Education Finance


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State education finance sets the stage for what is possible in schools. Despite a large proportion of school funding coming from states, many state education finance systems are poorly designed to meet the diverse needs of students.

Improving these systems can be a daunting task — but advocates across the country have shown that it’s possible, even in the face of significant political barriers.

In Making Change: A State Advocacy Playbook for Equitable Education Finance, we share lessons from advocacy leaders in six states — California, Connecticut, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, and Nevada — on the conditions that paved the way for positive changes in their education finance systems. We identified five common conditions across these states:

  • Coalitions: A strong, diverse coalition in support of change
  • Champions: Political leadership that champions funding changes
  • Research: A shared body of evidence demonstrating problems in the current finance system
  • Economics: Economic factors that necessitate state action
  • Lawsuits: Pressure or judicial mandates from funding lawsuits

This playbook can help advocates learn from successful efforts across the country so that they too can pursue funding reform in their communities.

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