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 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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.