The A-Z of Education: School Finance and Organization

In this series, I hope to guide you in acquiring the vocabulary that you need to know to be considered a competent education professional. In this article, we will discuss education vocabulary centered on school finance and organization.

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Adequate Yearly Progress is a No Child Left Behind requirement that schools make annual incremental progress toward 100 percent of students reaching the proficient level on state reading and mathematics assessments by the 2013–2014 school year.

American Federation of Teachers (AFT) is a nationally organized association, intended to represent the interests of all affiliated classroom teachers. It is comprised of professional teachers who advocate for teachers’ concerns, educational reforms, as well as for changes to current legislation.

American Recovery and Revitalization Act (ARRA) refers to a law passed in 2009 regarding the provision of a stimulus package to assist, among other things, in the creation and retention of teachers and school staff.

Authentic Assessment refers to the testing of students which measure accomplishment and mastery in a more holistic manner than standardized testing. The outcomes of these assessments are sometimes considered being more representative of a teacher’s effectiveness than the results of standardized testing.

Block Grant is a means for educational funding where federal government monies are paid to the state in a “block,” rather than being specifically designated to particular programs or purchases.

Categorical Aid refers to the means of federal funding for education where monies are targeted to specific federal programs or services and must only be used for those purposes. These monies are required to be accounted for and reported on periodically.

Chief State School Officer is the title given to the head of education for the state. This position may be elected, but is often appointed by the governor.

Elementary and Secondary Act (ESEA) was passed in 1965 in regards to various aspects of educational policy. This includes the funding of education up until the end of high school, and aims to promote the removal of achievement gaps between students of differing socioeconomic backgrounds.

Local School Board is the term used to describe the governing body for educational policy and funding at the local level. Members are usually elected by the community.

Local School District refers to the organization that channels funding and policies at the local level.

Local Superintendent is the head of education at the local school district. They are hired by the local school board.

National Education Association (NEA) is the largest professional organization and labor union, representing not only public school teachers and related personnel, but also retired educators and college students who wish to become teachers.

No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act is an act which promotes the setting of high standards, as well as the setting and conducting of standardized testing, with a view to develop certain fundamental and core skills, such as basic literacy. Schools are rated in terms of performance, with sanctions imposed against schools that are not performing adequately.

Parent Teacher Association (PTA) refers to a formally organized association of parents, who work in conjunction with the school teachers in bringing about changes within the school. PTAs can receive federal funds.

Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) refers to a locally organized group of parents who work in conjunction with teachers in bringing about changes in a school. PTOs do not receive federal funds.

Privatization refers to the movement away from management by local or state-level government structures, and the move towards management by private individuals or corporations.

Site-based Management/Decision-Making is the process by which all school-related decisions are made at the school level with input from all interested stakeholders. As these decisions are taken by parties who are based at the school, they generally more accurately represent the true needs of the school.

State Board of Education is presided over by the Chief State School Officer and responsible for upholding the state educational legislation is observed.

State Department of Education is the department that channels funds and policy decisions from the governor and the legislature, to local educational authorities.

Title I Federal legislation that makes funds available to improve the educational experiences of children from low income families.

Are there any terms that we missed?

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