New research by Jonathan Butcher shows that, on average, federal money pays for 41 percent of the salary expenditures at state education departments in states that contain more than 70 percent of the nation’s K–12 students. Federally-funded positions at state education agencies (SEAs) take various forms, but positions that include the title “consultant” and “program specialist” are common. Generally, the staff in these positions administer federal programs that distribute federal funding to school districts and ensure that districts comply with federal rules. For all intents and purposes, they are federal employees. Under ESSA, however, reducing the number of federally-funded employees—and the number of federal requirements these employees are tasked with implementing—remains a challenge. To learn more about the federal government’s impact on SEAs, read “Who Signs Your Paycheck?” on the EdNext blog.

—Education Next

Last updated April 11, 2018