Michigan Public School Finance

Building Name

Ypsilanti, Michigan 48197

Phone: 734.487.1849

[email protected]

MiSPF Team

Dr. Caldwell will lead the conceptualization and overall research agenda. This project examines the persistence of racism within public school funding policy, practice, and educational disparities within Michigan. Led by Caldwell, Richardson, and Grant will determine if there exists a statistical significance between the district type (e.g., current high spenders vs. low spenders, those with more high-needs students vs. those with fewer, those with more concentrated students living in poverty vs. those with fewer students living in poverty, etc.) and their funding distribution (descriptive use of z scores), funding effort (descriptive use of z scores), and funding level (regression). For phase 2, Caldwell, Smart, Polega, and Porter will design the research methodology and data gathering. The UW of Carl, Richardson and Grant with Caldwell will work to replicate and offer validation statistically.


Phillip Caldwell, II, Ph.D.

Phillip Caldwell, II, Ph.D. Assistant professor within the COE’s Department of Leadership and Counseling at EMU and I hail from Detroit, Michigan. In the Fall of 2020, he will begin implementing his research agenda, while completing a 2-year intensive training program focused on data science, research methods, education policy, and leadership. The long-term career goal is to help identify significant key learning opportunities for educational leaders over time with respect to building and retaining their knowledge, skills and dispositions regarding resource allocation as a key lever for achieving equitable student outcomes. Dr. Caldwell’s long-term career goal is to become a national leader in the design, implementation, evaluation, and training of educational leaders through evidenced based educational leader interventions (broadly defined as those people that oversee and make decisions regarding staff, stuff, or space) to reduce educational inequities.


Bradley Carl, Ph.D. 

Bradley Carl, Ph.D. Assistant Scientist and Co-Director of the Wisconsin Evaluation Collaborative (WEC), housed within the Wisconsin Center for Education Research (WCER) at UW-Madison. His current work focuses on evaluation of programs and initiatives at the PreK-12 level, as well as the design, implementation, and evaluation of state educator effectiveness and school accountability systems. He has worked extensively with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and Milwaukee Public Schools evaluating policy initiatives including postsecondary tracking, education/health outcomes, early warning indicators, and equitable finance systems. Prior to joining WCER, Dr. Carl worked for the Office of Educational Accountability at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, the Center on Education and Work at UW-Madison, and the American Institutes for Research in Washington, D.C. He holds degrees from Hamline University (B.A., International Studies and History) and Michigan State University (Ph.D., Sociology-Urban Studies).


Rajah E. Smart, Ed.D. 

Rajah E. Smart, Ed.D. Department Chair and an Assistant Professor in Urban Education at Davenport University. He brings more than 25 years within the education sector including teaching, school administration, state education consulting, data systems development, building capacity, auditing, higher education, grant writing, quality assurance development, and program evaluation for continuous improvement. Dr. Smart has completed a Bachelor of Arts in Education from Western Michigan University, a Master of Education in Administration and Supervision from the University of Phoenix, and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from the University of Michigan. Research areas includes urban education, equity, school finance, and resource allocation.


Jed T. Richardson, Ph.D. 

Jed T. Richardson, Ph.D. Assistant Scientist with WEC. He is the Principal Investigator of multiple evaluations of state policies and district academic programs. He has studied the design of school accountability systems, basic needs insecurity among college students, and impacts of student risk factors such as placement in out of home care and contact with the juvenile justice system. Prior to joining WEC, Jed served as Acting Director and Managing Director of the Wisconsin HOPE Lab and as Associate Director and Economist at the Value Added Research Center. He received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of California, Davis. 


Grant Sim, MPA 

Grant Sim, MPA. Researcher at the Wisconsin Evaluation Collaborative (WEC) within the Wisconsin Center for Education Research (WCER). He serves as principal investigator or co-principal investigator on several evaluations of state and local educational initiatives combining quantitative and qualitative methods. Prior to joining WCER, Grant worked for the Office of Educational Accountability at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI). He has a master’s degree in public affairs from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


Jenne’ Porter, M.Ed. 

Jenne’ Porter, M.Ed. Program manager specializing in data analysis and action materialization in the educational sector. She has over 14 years as a teacher and technology coordinator in and around the Detroit Metro area. Her work with data began in 2004 while working as the Director of Testing using a variety of educational assessment platforms. Since this time she has developed extensive expertise in data application specifically; a compilation of test results, data analysis, data-based instructional planning, implementation of project goals and planning, data analysis and action training, high-level reporting, metrics tracking, and research-based examination of data points to support growth in student achievement. With her project management background Jenne' also has experience in the planning, implementation, and tracking of specific deliverables for specific short-term projects which have a beginning and end. Jenne’ has a B.S. in Computer Information Systems from the University of Detroit, a Master in Educational Leadership specializing in Educational Technology from Marygrove College, and is currently a doctoral fellow, pursuing a Doctoral degree in Education in Educational Leadership at Eastern Michigan University (EMU). As a Doctoral Fellow at Eastern Michigan University, she is currently serving and researching under the Michigan Office of Public School of Finance housed at EMU. Jenne’ Porter currently resides in the metro Detroit area with her family.


Meaghan Polega, M.Ed. 

Meaghan Polega, M.Ed. Clinical Researcher at Eastern Michigan University. She also currently serves as the Teaching and Learning Coordinator for the College of Urban Education at Davenport University. Meaghan previously taught as a high school science teacher in diverse school districts in Michigan. She has a B.S in Biology Secondary Education from Saginaw Valley Statue University, a M.Ed. in Urban Education and Graduate Certification in Data Analytics from Davenport University and is pursuing her Ed.D. in Diversity and Equity in Education at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

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