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NEPC’s September Education Interview of the Month Features Discussion of State Intervention in School District Finances

BOULDER, CO (September 26, 2019) – In this month’s NEPC Education Interview of the Month, NEPC Researcher Christopher Saldaña speaks with Dirk Zuschlag, a former public school social studies teacher and practicing attorney, and a current PhD candidate in the education policy doctoral program at Michigan State University, and Kristine Bowman, the Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs at Michigan State University College of Education and a Professor of Law at Michigan State University College of Law. Together they discuss the recent rise in state intervention into school district’s finances. Zuschlag and Bowman examine this trend in detail in their NEPC research brief, States’ Interventions in School District’s Finances.

Chris, Dirk and Kristine discuss the ways in which states can justify intervention and how these justifications may vary across states. Zuschlag and Bowman argue that more research should examine these state interventions, given that they present significant implications for the power state governance systems hold over local public school districts. Zuschlag and Kristine also describe the creation of a brand new data set of 449 state statutory provisions that contain 1,068 individual potential interventions, which the authors believe will provide valuable insights for policymakers and researchers to contextualize and further understand the occurrence and consequences of state intervention.

Among Zuschlag and Bowman’s recommendations is a call for national organizations involved in educational policy to convene state policymakers and researchers to facilitate policy learning and policy transfer about these issues. The authors encourage state governors and/or state legislatures’ education committees to evaluate their systems of potential interventions into districts’ finances and also implementation. Finally, Zuschlag and Bowman call upon researchers to make use of the brief’s data to explore connections between a state’s articulated power over school districts’ finances and other core aspects of a state’s fiscal power over education, in order to further investigate the connections suggested in the brief between potential fiscal interventions, students’ race, and charter permissiveness. 

A new NEPC Education Interview of the Month, hosted by NEPC Researcher Christopher Saldaña, will be released each month from September through May. 

Don’t worry if you miss a month. All NEPC Education Interview of the Month podcasts are archived on the NEPC website and can be found here.

Coming Next Month

In October, Chris will be speaking with Katherine Schultz, Dean of the School of Education at the University of Colorado Boulder, about her new book, Distrust and Educational Change: Overcoming Barriers to Just and Lasting Educational Reform, which examines the way distrust and the failure to recognize and address it can significantly contribute to the failure of policies meant to improve educational systems.

Stay tuned in to NEPC for smart, engaging conversations about education policy.

The National Education Policy Center (NEPC), a university research center housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education, produces and disseminates high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. Visit us at: