Funding that truly “follows” the child means moving a real dollar amount between school budgets as a specific child moves between schools or even districts. The school that the child attends then decides how to spend the funds. The system we propose is not a set percentage of education dollars to be spent in the classroom—it is a fundamental shift in the philosophy of public education funding. Buildings, programs, and staff positions are not funded—kids are.
This paper is a call on policymakers to transform the school funding system in service of meeting our high ambitions for student learning. We envision a transparent system in which: