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.