Research Phases

Methodology, Parts, Phases, Aims and Research Questions

This research seeks to explain the persistence of racism specifically as it relates to public school funding policy, practice, and educational disparities in Michigan. This mixed methods research design represents what Mertens (2005, 2007) describes as the use of a transformative paradigm, which aids in the intersection of mixed methods and social justice work. This multiphase integrated mixed methods design represents components informed by the following: transformative paradigms (Mertens, 2005, 2007), critical race theory (DeCuir & Dixson, 2004; Harris, 1993; Ladson-Billings & Tate, 1995; Ladson-Billings, 2009), school funding fairness (Baker, Farrie, & Sciarra, 2018, Baker, Weber, Srikanth, Atzbi, & Kim, 2018), critical race mixed methods (DeCuir-Gunby, 2020) and explanatory sequential mixed methods (Creamer, 2018; Guetterman, Fetters & Creswell, 2015) to frame and design this research design to explain systemic racism associated with public school funding policy, practice, and educational disparities in Michigan.

Part 1

  • Phase 1 

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    Aim: Adapt existing methodology  for determining funding fairness (Baker, Farrie, & Sciarra, 2018) at the state level to examine Michigan’s public school finance system at the district level based on three criteria (i.e., funding level, funding effort, funding distribution).

    Research Question: Is there evidence that Michigan districts enrolling more Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) students, (a) have less revenue available from state or local sources compared to otherwise-similar districts that enroll fewer students of color (funding effort) (b) spend relatively less than otherwise-similar districts after controlling for differences in student need and regional costs (funding level); and (c) have less state aid to distribute to students in poverty (funding distribution)? 

    • Aim 1A: Describe differences in state and local funding effort across Michigan districts after accounting for selected student characteristics such as race/ethnicity. [Link to MI Funding Effort]
    • Aim 1B: Describe differences in state and local funding levels across Michigan districts after accounting for selected student characteristics such as race/ethnicity. 
    • Aim 1C: Describe differences in state and local funding distribution within Michigan districts after accounting for selected student characteristics such as race/ethnicity. 

     

  • Phase 2 

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    Aim: Conduct phone interviews with a subset of district/school leaders from Phase 3 to investigate in more detail the dynamics of the resource allocation process as relates to providing equitable educational opportunities for districts enrolling high percentages of Black (i.e., Black descendants of captive and enslaved Africans in the U.S) Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) and students in poverty.

    Research question: To what extent do considerations around racial equity factor into funding decisions made at the district and school levels – in other words, is there evidence that school boards, superintendents, principals, and other leaders actively and purposefully make resource allocation decisions in ways that advance an equity agenda? 

     

  • Phase 3

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    Micro-Aim: Design joint displays, defined as a way to integrate the data by bringing the data together through a visual means to draw out new insights beyond the information gained from the separate quantitative and qualitative results to better explain to the persistence of racism, specifically as it relates to public school funding policy, practice, and educational disparities within Michigan public school districts.

Part Two

  • Phase 4 

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    Aim: Adapt existing methodology (Atchison, Levin, Baker, and Kolbe, 2020) to describe relationships between student outcomes (i.e., attendance, standardized State of Michigan test scores, graduation rates)  and student needs, based on  funding fairness (i.e., level, effort, distribution) in a subset of Michigan districts based on poverty level and region. 


    Research question: Is there evidence of associations between the three measures of funding fairness and selected student outcomes, that is how much of the variation in outcome measures among s Black (i.e., Black descendants of captive and enslaved Africans in the U.S) Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) within the subset of Michigan districts is explained by the three fairness measures (both individually and collectively)?

    • Aim 4A: Describe the relationship between student outcomes and student needs, “demonstrating how student outcomes in Michigan vary across districts according to the needs of students served in those districts” (Atchison, Levin, Baker, and Kolbe, 2020, p.19).  
    • Aim 4B: Describe the cost model and estimation of funding weights if any,  is necessary for districts enrolling high percentages of Black (i.e., Black descendants of captive and enslaved Africans in the U.S) Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) and students in poverty to improve student outcomes to state-level standards. [Insert link Funding Effort Page]
    • Aim 4C: Describe Michigan school district MI financial fitness replication model (financial profile, and risk of financial difficulties) MI replication based on IL model based on districts enrolling high percentages of Black (i.e., Black descendants of captive and enslaved Africans in the U.S) Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) and students in poverty. See Financial Profile
  • Phase 5 

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    Aim: Develop and administer a survey of district (and school?) leaders in a stratified subset of Michigan districts, in order to investigate whether/how different types of student need (i.e.,  FRPR, special education provisions, EL, and ethnicity) are considered and applied during the budget cycle/resource allocation processes.


    Research question: To what extent do districts (and schools?) make deliberate and purposeful decisions to allocate more resources toward students with higher levels of need (esp. as relates to Black students), and if so what does this process look like?

  • Phase 6

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    Micro-Aim: Design joint displays, defined as a way to integrate the data by bringing the data together through a visual means to draw out new insights beyond the information gained from the separate quantitative and qualitative results to better explain to the persistence of racism, specifically as it relates to public school funding policy, practice, and educational disparities within Michigan public school districts.

Part Three

  • Phase 7 

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    Aim: Design joint displays representing a multiphase transformative paradigm, which integrated mixed methods design that centers race in our hypothesis, centers race in the data sources and variables, and centers race with the interpretation? The methodological aims for this design are to develop a logic model for applying critical race mix methods (CRMM) to complex contextual studies using explanatory sequential mixed methods.


    Research question: How can a mixed-method approach examining the influences and effects of K12 educational leader practitioner’s involvement in resource allocation offset the weaknesses inherent to either qualitative or quantitative data and guide collection, analysis, and integration?