Federal funding provisions offer states important new flexibility and opportunity to focus on what works

Chiefs for Change
April 4, 2017

State Chiefs are developing bold strategies to take advantage of additional flexibility in the nation’s new education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), to use federal funding in more innovative ways. Evidence and Funding: Connecting the Dots, a policy brief released today by Chiefs for Change, recommends that states align federal formula funds to key state and district priorities, invest in strategies with proven outcomes, and tap ESSA’s opportunities for creative uses of funds. These actions will enable states to significantly magnify the impact of federal dollars in schools in ways that have not been achieved previously.

Nationally, over $16 billion is currently spent each year on the two largest federal Title programs in ESSA — Title I and Title II — and ESSA provides new tools for states to invest these resources in smarter ways. Even as Congress debates the specific funding levels for these programs moving forward, effectively leveraging this flexibility will remain a powerful tool for leaders to meaningfully influence the work of schools and outcomes for students under ESSA.

Chiefs for Change has already released a series of four briefs that address the opportunities for state and district leaders to use Title funds in new, innovative ways under ESSA:

Evidence and Funding: Connecting the Dots ties the previous briefs together and provides a framework for Chiefs to consider the opportunities across elements of ESSA and develop a strategic approach that ensures federal funds are used in ways that match key priorities for schools and students and maximize the use of evidence-based approaches.



Chiefs for Change is a coalition of state education Chiefs and district superintendents dedicated to excellence and equity for all students. Learn more on our website:

For technical questions about the content of this paper, contact Anne Hyslop at