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A Closer Look at Title I: Making Education for the Disadvantaged More Student-Centered

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.

America's Most Financially Disadvantaged School Districts and How They Got That Way

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.

The Stealth Inequities of School Funding: How State and Local School Finance Systems Perpetuate Inequitable Student Spending

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.

Is School Funding Fair? A National Report Card: First Edition

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.

Is School Funding Fair? A National Report Card: Second Edition

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.

Is School Funding Fair? A National Report Card: Third Edition

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.

The Stealth Inequities of School Funding-How State and Local Finance Systems Perpetuate Inequitable Student Spending

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.

Educational Equity and Effectiveness- The Need for Fiscal Fairness and Fiscal Productivity

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.

High-Poverty Schools and the Distribution of Teachers and Principals

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.

How Much More Does a Disadvantaged Student Cost?

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.

Close the Hidden Funding Gaps in Our Schools

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.

Parallel Lives, Different Outcomes: A Twin Study of Academic Productivity in U.S. School Districts

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.

How much education funding should go directly to classrooms?

This article examines the 65% Solution, a reform proposal for school financing.

Jonsson, P. (2006). Christian Science Monitor

How Approaches to Stuck-in-the-Mud School Funding Hinder Improvement

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.

Reversing the Rising Tide of Inequality: Achieving Educational Equity for Each and Every Child

This report examines the current available state remedies for inequity; examine the Equity and Excellence Commission’s findings regarding the inequities that exist in U.S. educa�tion and its five-part agenda to address them; and conclude with recommendations designed to operationalize that agenda and make equal educational opportunity a reality for each and every child in the United States.

Lewis, T. (2013). Reversing the Rising Tide of Inequality: Achieving Educational Equity for Each and Every Child. The Leadership Conference Education Fund

Getting Down to Facts: Five Years Later

This report commemorates the fifth anniversary of the Getting Down to Facts project, which sought to provide a thorough and reliable analysis of the critical challenges facing California’s education system as the necessary basis for an informed discussion of policy changes aimed at improving the performance of California schools and students. The report focuses on the four key issues that received emphasis in the Getting Down to Facts studies: governance, finance, personnel, and data systems.

Loeb, S. (2013). Getting Down to Facts: Five Years Later Policy Analysis for California Education

Ensuring Equal Opportunity in Public Education

This report examines how local school district funding is allocated in a way that hurts poor and minority students. The four papers include: (1) the history of Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and its comparability provision, (2) the unexpected consequences of the comparability provision in practice, (3) the ways in which Title I might be fixed, and (4) the ways in which those fixes might be implemented with positive results.

McClure, P., Wiener, R., Roza, M., Hill, M. (2008) Ensuring Equal Opportunity in Public Education The Broad Fouundation

Secret Recipes Revealed- Demystifying the Title I, Part A Funding Formulas

This report analyzes funding inequities in the context of four formulas that determine the amounts and destinations of grants under Title I, Part A. States with small populations and low concentrations of poor children receive radically larger grants on a per-poor-child basis than states with larger populations, including those with substantial rural poverty. Children living in concentrated poverty are poorly served by a labyrinthine funding scheme comprising four separate formulas. This paper exposes the technical considerations that should inform a smarter, fairer approach to funding grants under Title I, Part A

Miller, R. (2009). Secret recipes revealed: Demystifying the Title I, Part A funding formulas. Washington: Center for American Progress.

Funding Gaps 2015: Too Many States Still Spend Less on Educating Students Who Need the Most

This analysis provides an overview of funding equity by race and poverty concentration across states the funding disparities across the nation and within states. It finds that nationally, the highest poverty districts receive about $1,200 less per student than the lowest poverty districts. The differences are even larger–roughly $2,000 per student–among districts serving the most and the fewest students of color.

Natasha Ushomirsky and David Williams. (2015). Funding Gaps 2015: Too Many States Still Spend Less on Educating Students Who Need the Most. The Education Trust.

Financing the Education of High-Need Students

This report focuses on three specific challenges that are often encountered when districts–especially small ones–grapple with the costs of serving their highest-need special-education students.

Richmond, M., Fairchild, D. (2013). Financing the Education of High-Need Students Thomas B. Fordham Institute

Comparable but Unequal- School Funding Disparities

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.

Robert Hanna, Max Marchitello, Catherine Brown (2015). Comparable but Unequal- School Funding Disparities. Center for American Progress.

California School District Revenue and Student Poverty: Moving Toward a Weighted Pupil Funding Formula

Governor Brown has proposed a new funding system–known as a weighted pupil formula–that would direct more revenue to California school districts serving many economically disadvantaged students. This report examines the relationship between funding and student disadvantage and addresses questions about converting the current school finance system to a weighted pupil formula.

Rose, H., & Weston, M. (2013). California School District Revenue and Student Poverty Moving Toward a Weighted Pupil Funding Formula.

Unequal Education: Federal Loophole Enables Lower Spending on Students of Color

This paper examines the issue of education equity by analyzing per-pupil state and local education spending. Using U.S. Department of Education school-level expenditure data that includes real teacher salaries, the paper concludes: (1) Students of color are being shortchanged across the country when compared to their white peers. (2) The traditional explanation–that variation in schools’ per-pupil spending stems almost entirely from different property-tax bases between school districts–is inaccurate as approximately 40 percent of variation in per-pupil spending occurs within school districts. (3) Changing a particular provision of federal education law–closing the so-called comparability loophole–would result in districts making more equitable expenditures on students of color.

Spatig-Amerikaner, A. (2012). Unequal Education: Federal Loophole Enables Lower Spending on Students of Color. Center for American Progress.

Fund the Child: Tackling Inequity & Antiquity in School Finance

This report analyzes the inequities of the current school finance models and proposes adoption of a model called Weighted Student Funding. It is a system of school funding based on five principles: (1) Funding should follow the child, on a per-student basis, to the public school that he/she attends; (2) Per-student funding should vary according to the child's need and other relevant circumstances; (3) It should arrive at the school as real dollars (4) These principles for allocating money to schools should apply to all levels; and (5) Funding systems should be simplified and made transparent.

Thomas, B. (2009). Fordham Institute. 2006. Fund the child: Tackling inequity and antiquity in school finance.

Return on Educational Investment: 2014 A District-by-District Evaluation of U.S. Educational Productivity
In 2011, the Center of American Progress released the first-ever attempt to evaluate the productivity of almost every major school district in the country. That project developed a set of relatively simple productivity metrics in order to measure the achievement that a school district produces relative to its spending, while controlling for factors outside a district’s control, such the cost of living and students living in poverty. This report uses these same metrics to once again examine the productivity of the nation’s school districts.
Boser, U. (2014). Return on Educational Investment: 2014. Center for American Progress. http://www. americanprogress. org.
Revenues and Expenditures for Public Elementary and Secondary Education: School Year 2009-10.
This First Look report presents state-level data on revenues by source and expenditures by function for public elementary and secondary education for school year 2009-10. Part of the Common Core of Data (CCD), this report presents data submitted annually to NCES by state education agencies in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Cornman, S., Young, J., Herrell, K. (2012). Revenues and Expenditures for Public Elementary and Secondary Education: School Year 2009-10. NCES 2013-305. National Center for Education Statistics.
End Games: The Challenge of Sustainability
This study investigates how funders are viewing sustainability and what foundations can do to ensure pilot projects survive.
Culter, I. (2002). End games: The challenge of sustainability.
Federal School Finance Reform- Moving Toward Title I Funding Following the Child?
This brief describes the types of grants the federal government distributes under Title I, explains how those grants are dispersed to local education agencies (LEAs) and schools, and outlines the safeguards that were introduced to protect against misuse of Title I funds. A brief review follows of the shortcomings of Title I, leading to recommendations on how to make Title I more effective. Finally, this brief provides an overview of current reform proposals and draws some conclusions about which reforms offer the best chance for successful use of Title I funds.
Furtick, K., & Snell, L. (2014). Federal School Finance Reform- Moving Toward Title I Funding Following the Child? The Reason Foundation
Comparability of State and Local Expenditures Among Schools Within Districts: A Report from the Study of School-Level Expenditures
This report from the Study of School-Level Expenditures presents findings on how state and local education expenditures at the school level vary within school districts.
Heuer, R., & Stullich, S. (2011). Comparability of State and Local Expenditures among Schools within Districts: A Report from the Study of School-Level Expenditures. Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development, US Department of Education.
The Effects of School Spending on Educational and Economic Outcomes: Evidence from School Finance Reforms
This study examined the effect of these school-finance-reform-induced changes in school spending on long-run adult outcomes. Event-study and instrumental variable models reveal that a 10 percent increase in per-pupil spending each year for all twelve years of public school leads to 0.27 more completed years of education, 7.25 percent higher wages, and a 3.67 percentage-point reduction in the annual incidence of adult poverty; effects are much more pronounced for children from low-income families. Exogenous spending increases were associated with sizable improvements in measured school quality, including reductions in student-to-teacher ratios, increases in teacher salaries, and longer school years.
Jackson, C. K., Johnson, R. C., & Persico, C. (2015). The Effects of School Spending on Educational and Economic Outcomes: Evidence from School Finance Reforms (No. w20847). National Bureau of Economic Research.
For School Equality, Try Mobility
This is an Op Ed piece from the New York times discussing the issue of school financing reform.
Paige, R. (2006). New York Times
The National School Lunch Program: Background, Trends, and Issues
This report provides background information on the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), including historical trends and participant characteristics. It also addresses steps being taken to meet challenges facing administrators of the program, including tradeoffs between nutritional quality of foods served, costs, and participation, as well as between program access and program integrity.
Ralston, K., Newman, C., Clauson, A., Guthrie, J., & Buzby, J. (2008). The National School Lunch Program: Background, Trends, and Issues. Economic Research Report Number 61. US Department of Agriculture.
The cost-effectiveness of raising teacher quality.
This study examines the econometric impact of educational practices on student achievement.
Yeh, S. S. (2009). The cost-effectiveness of raising teacher quality. Educational Research Review, 4(3), 220-232.
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