While educators face the increasing challenge of shaping America’s youth with decreasing budgets, West Virginia University is encouraging teachers to brainstorm ways to lessen the gap by sharing classroom success strategies and developing metrics to rethink how education spending and performance are linked.

The John D. Rockefeller IV School of Policy and Politics in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences invited K -12 educators from West Virginia and surrounding states via email through their respective Boards of Education to campus for a day of discussion about how teachers define a successful learning environment – and how that success is measured.

The brainstorming session will be held Saturday, March 5 from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Reed College of Media Innovation Center at Evansdale Crossing. Participating educators will hear from former West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise in the morning and will then break into discussion groups facilitated by public administration graduate students, alumni and others to engage in candid dialogue about what works in their classrooms and how to measure it.

The roundtable was jointly conceived by Karen Kunz, associate professor of public administration and Jonathan Stehle, a past-president and board member of the American Association for Budget Program Analysis.

Their ultimate goal is to give educators a forum to share classroom success strategies and how they are measured. For example, if attendance is an indicator of success, educators can discuss how they might measure it and at what point in the day.

“This is really a way to fund exemplary education,” said Kunz. “We hope that teachers will learn from shared best practices so that they can take them back to their schools to use as a model to create success.”

Part of the discussions will also center around informing policy regarding how the federal government can best comply with the Digital Accountability and Transparency (DATA) Act, which requires that the Department of the Treasury establish common standards for financial data provided by all government agencies by Jan. 2017. The ultimate goal of the law is to improve the ability of Americans to track and understand how the government is spending their tax dollars.

The roundtable is just one example of how the Rockefeller School of Policy and Politics is working to make a difference in public policy and giving people a voice in the process.

“The Rockefeller School is committed to providing a first-class education while also making a difference in our world,” said Rochelle ‘Rocky’ Goodwin, senior associate vice president for academic and public strategy. “This weekend’s forum is just one small way we are connecting people to policy. When our federal policies listen to our teachers, K-12 students across the country win.”

Kunz – whose teachings and research focuses on public budgeting and fiscal policy – says the ultimate goal is to uphold the Rockefeller School’s mission and give educators an opportunity to shape policy. They plan to inform policymakers on the outcomes of these discussions through a white paper that can inform future funding decisions.

“This will give teachers in the Appalachian region a platform to inform policy,” said Kunz. “We hope that lawmakers will use the information from these discussions to determine school funding.”

-WVU-

hr/02/29/2016

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