Introduction and Statement of Purpose:
For my final product, I will examine different systems of public school finance, evaluate their merits and weaknesses, and take a stance on which system (or combination of) I believe is the most effective for Texas schools. My evaluation will include three separate scenarios. The first being the current system in place. The second being: without “Robin Hood” legislation, but the same distribution of funding from the local, state, and federal government. Finally, the third being: one without “Robin Hood” legislation, and with the state government providing 50% of funding and local taxes providing 30% of funds. I will develop and write a case study to evaluate and critique each of these methods for my final product. Additionally, I will create a handout that conveniently and briefly explains my opinions and conclusions. With the completion of my written case study and handout, I hope to present my findings and stances to state representatives and senators.
Review of Skills and Research:
In the beginning of my research, I will need to be objective. This skill is necessary because to create a credible case study, I must fully understand the merits and weaknesses of different public education systems before I can evaluate them. To conduct my research, I will continue reading articles and studies regarding the topic. However, I will also interview state lawmakers, local representatives, and school leadership from rural, suburban, and urban areas. My goal is for these interviews to provide me with primary information regarding impacts of the current public education finance system. Additionally, I will use these interviews to help synthesize many different stances as I establish my own.
Writing a case study, preparing presentation materials, and taking a stance on public education finance will help me practice many of the skills necessary for public policy. The objective preliminary research will allow me to learn how to evaluate an issue with fairness and an open-mind. However, as I will formulate my own policy position, I will also learn how to synthesize objective facts, testimonies, and my personal experiences to take a stance on a policy issue. Furthermore, as I hope to present my final product to state representatives and senators as part of my project, I will have to learn how to be persuasive, confident in my opinion, ready to defend my beliefs, but also open to listening to the other side. As I develop presentation materials to create a tangible explanation of my research, I will challenge myself to condense my research and policy stance. This will allow me to learn how to be effective when presenting and discussing public policy with officials. Not only will I gain valuable lessons from my final product, but I will also gain real-world experience.
To effectively develop and complete my case study, I will need to:
- Research current and historical results of the public school finance systems in question.
- Research the economic burdens and repercussions at the local and state level of the public school finance systems in question.
- Interview multiple people involved in local government, state government, and school boards from rural, suburban, and urban districts.
- Evaluate the positive and negative impacts of the public school finance systems in question. This will require analyzing their merits and weaknesses towards students as well as tax payers.
- Develop a personal policy position supporting one (or a combination of) the public school finance systems in question.
- Prepare a conversational presentation for state representatives and senators to advance my position.
Materials necessary to develop my case study are:
- Contact information to reach out for interviews for primary research.
- Computer software to develop an infographic explaining my findings and stance (Microsoft applications).
- An additional binder to hold my case study for final presentation night.
Utilization of Higher Level Thinking Skills:
My final product will require me to assess and critique possible policy options for public school finance. As I objectively compare and weigh their merits and weaknesses, I will utilize evaluation to determine the possible benefits and/or detrimental effects to Texas students and tax payers. Additionally, as I collect objective research and primary subjective testimonies, research, and opinions, I will need to synthesize my information with my personal experiences. By synthesizing my research, experiences, and testimonies of others, I will be able to create, articulate and defend my personal stance and opinion on public education finance policy. Throughout the creation of my written case study and its accompanying presentation, I will have to analyze information to formulate conclusions regarding the effectiveness of public school finance systems in question. By comparing three different possible systems, I hope to identify what I believe to be the best public education finance system for the state of Texas to adopt.
The outcome of my final product will be a developed professional case study. This will provide me with extensive research regarding public education finance. It will also teach me how to take a stance on legislation efforts after evaluating all sides of the situation against each other. I am hoping that by writing a professional policy case study and presenting it to state legislators, I will gain real-world experience in evaluating policy and taking a position on it. With my mentor, I also expect to gain experience sharing and defending my position when presenting it to state legislators. My final product will hopefully benefit my community, as it will present evaluations on possible public school finance efforts. After raising awareness of merits and weaknesses with state legislators, I hope that I can use my final product to positively contribute to debates and policy efforts during the state legislature this year.