Robbing Peter to Pay Paul
Weighted-student funding is not the ‘100 percent solution.’
When the Thomas B. Fordham Institute issued its “manifesto” entitled “Fund the Child: Tackling Inequity and Antiquity in School Finance” in June, dozens of distinguished figures from all points along the political spectrum signed their names to it. ( "Call for ‘Weighted’ Student Funding Gets Bipartisan Stamp of Approval," July 12, 2006.) We would not have.
Having both worked diligently for years to rectify inequities in education finance systems, we are concerned that the particular silver bullet emphasized in the Fordham report—an approach known as “weighted student funding”—would, if enacted as proposed, be more harmful than helpful to children’s interests. We don’t deny that in certain circumstances, weighted-student funding can be an effective way to distribute education funds within large school districts. But without a host of other concurrent reforms, it cannot—despite being touted by the report’s authors as the “100 percent solution”—create equity for public school students and, in fact, would probably undermine it.
We are not arguing that allocating resources to schools on the basis of educational need is a bad idea. Clearly, it is a good idea. Just as state legislators have been obligated by state courts to target funding to districts on the basis of students’ educational needs, so too should district officials be obligated to target resources to schools on the basis of such need....
This article is available to subscribers only.
To keep reading this article and more, subscribe now or start a 2-week FREE trial.
- Senior Content and Curriculum Leader
- BrightBytes, San Francisco, CA
- Associate Director of Marketing & Business Development
- Generation Ready, New York, NY
- Superintendent of Schools
- Florence Public School District One, Florence, SC
- 3rd Grade Teacher
- New Hope Academy Charter School, Brooklyn, NY
- Grand Center Arts Academy, St. Louis, MO