This analysis examines whether the current mechanisms for providing federal education funding to disadvantaged children are effective and whether the system works as originally intended.
Aud, S. L. (2007). A Closer Look at Title I: Making Education for the Disadvantaged More Student-Centered. Heritage Special Report. SR-15. Heritage Foundation.
This report explores some of the most financially disadvantaged school districts in the country and identifies a typology of conditions that have created or reinforced their disadvantage. It report lays out a typology of conditions that lead to severe fiscal disadvantage for local public school systems. It then provides examples of states, state policy conditions, and specific local public school districts identified as being severely financially disadvantaged.
Baker, B. (2014). America's Most Financially Disadvantaged School Districts and How They Got That Way. Washington: Center for American Progress.
This report begins by identifying those states where combined state and local revenues are systematically lower in higher-poverty districts–that is, states with “regressive” school funding distributions. Based on this analysis, the authors focus on six states–Illinois, Texas, New York, Pennsylvania, Missouri, and North Carolina–where children attending school in higher-poverty districts still have substantially less access to state and local revenue than children attending school in lower-poverty districts. With these states in mind, the authors then go beyond recent reports on school funding inequities to uncover some nontraditional causes of these imbalances.
Baker, B. D., & Corcoran, S. P. (2012). The Stealth Inequities of School Funding: How State and Local School Finance Systems Perpetuate Inequitable Student Spending. Center for American Progress.
The National Report Card is a critique of state school funding systems and the extent to which these systems ensure equality of educational opportunity for all children, regardless of background, family income, place of residence or school. The report makes the assumption that "fair" school funding is defined as "a state finance system that ensures equal educational opportunity by providing a sufficient level of funding distributed to districts within the state to account for additional needs generated by student poverty."
Baker, B. D., Sciarra, D. G., & Farrie, D. (2010). Is School Funding Fair? A National Report Card. Education Law Center.
The Second Edition of the National Report Card on public school funding, Is School Funding Fair?, shows that far too many states continue to deny public schools the essential resources they need to meet the needs of the nation's 53 million students and to boost academic achievement. The National Report Card rates the 50 states on the basis of four "fairness indicators" - funding level, funding distribution, state fiscal effort, and public school coverage. The Report provides the most in-depth analysis to date of state education finance systems and school funding fairness across the nation.
Baker, B. D., Sciarra, D. G., & Farrie, D. (2012). Is School Funding Fair? A National Report Card: Second Edition. Education Law Center.
The 3rd Edition of Is School Funding Fair? A National Report Card details how the Great Recession and its aftermath have affected school funding in the states. The National Report Card (NRC) examines each state's level of commitment to equal educational opportunity, regardless of a student's background, family income, or where she or he attends school. Providing fair school funding -- at a sufficient level with additional funds to meet needs generated by poverty -- is crucial if all students are to be afforded the opportunity to learn and be successful.
Baker, B. D., Sciarra, D. G., & Farrie, D. (2014). Is School Funding Fair? A National Report Card: Third Edition. Education Law Center.
This report analyzes the disparity in funding and resources in K-12 education for children of color and low-income families. It found that millions of students–largely low-income students and students of color–continue to attend segregated and economically isolated schools. State and district school finance systems perpetuate and compound these inequities by providing less money to students with the greatest need.
Baker, B., & Corcoran, S. (2012). The stealth inequities of school funding. Center for American Progress, Washington, DC.
This report analyzes two critical, and sometimes competing, issues in school finance reformer: fiscal equity and fiscal efficiency. It makes the case that fiscal equity and fiscal effectiveness are not mutually exclusive, and this nation needs to do more to improve both the fairness and the productivity of public school dollars. In other words, we need to make sure that schools and districts not only get enough money to serve their student populations but also that they then spend those dollars wisely.
Boser, U. (2014). Educational Equity and Effectiveness- The Need for Fiscal Fairness and Fiscal Productivity. Washington: Center for American Progress.
Although many factors combine to make a successful school, most people agree that quality teachers and school principals are among the most important requirements for success, especially when success is defined by the ability of the school to raise the achievement of its students. The central question for this study is how the quality of the teachers and principals in high-poverty schools in North Carolina compares to that in the schools serving more advantaged students.
Clotfelter, C., Ladd, H. F., Vigdor, J., & Wheeler, J. (2006). High-poverty schools and the distribution of teachers and principals. NCL Rev., 85, 1345.
This paper provides a guide to statistically based methods for estimating the extra costs of educating disadvantaged students, shows how these methods are related, and compares state aid programs that account for these costs in different ways. It shows that large, urban school districts with a high concentration of disadvantaged students would receive far more aid (and rich suburban districts would receive far less aid) if statistically based pupil weights were used instead of the ad hoc weights in existing state aid programs.
Duncombe, W., & Yinger, J. (2005). How much more does a disadvantaged student cost?. Economics of Education Review, 24(5), 513-532.
This report examines the widespread and unjust district budgeting practices and offers Congress a straightforward legislative path: Fix the so-called comparability provisions of Title I.
Hall, D., & Ushomirsky, N. (2010). Close the Hidden Funding Gaps in Our Schools. K-12 Policy. Education Trust.
The goal of this paper was to study twin districts and use the data culled to provide recommendations for how districts can best leverage their school funding investments–in other words, achieve a bigger bang for their educational buck. The findings were: When it comes to education, spending does not always equal results. There are significant funding inequities between demographically similar districts. Districts have limited control over their own expenditures.
Hanna R., Morris B. (2014). Parallel Lives, Different Outcomes: A Twin Study of Academic Productivity in U.S. School Districts. Washington: Center for American Progress.
This article examines the 65% Solution, a reform proposal for school financing.
Jonsson, P. (2006). Christian Science Monitor
This report highlights the lack of innovation, flexibility, and new ideas in state financing of public education. It concludes: many state and education leaders continue to support and employ methods that prevent schools and principals from undertaking the efforts that they think are most needed to improve education in their classrooms. The use of state categorical–funds to school districts with strict limits on their use–exemplifies this lack of innovation in school finance.
Lazarin, M. (2013). How Approaches to Stuck-in-the-Mud School Funding Hinder Improvement. Center for American Progress.