Education

Rural Advocacy Group Seeks Title I Horror Stories

By Mary Schulken — August 12, 2010 1 min read

The push by rural school advocates to make the case against numbers weighting in the federal Title I allocation formula continues. A previous post on the Rural Education blog shared the latest example offered by the Formula Fairness Campaign, which is working for reform of the formula, of inequities created by numbers weighting. The gist: Small, high-poverty urban schools systems are affected, too, just as high-poverty rural schools are.

Now the Rural School and Community Trust, a non-profit that researches how policies affect rural schools and advocates for their interests, has asked school districts affected by numbers weighting to share their “horror” stories.

Here’s part of a letter from Robin Lambert at the Rural Trust that went out to members:

As you know, the Rural Trust is working to bring equity to the way funding in the federal Title I program is distributed to school districts. As part of this effort, we are looking for school administrators, teachers, school or public officials, or others who are willing to share their stories of how Title I inequities are affecting their district, school, or students. One big part of the inequities is the 'number weighting' provisions that were implemented in 2002. Since then, many districts, especially smaller districts, are getting much less Title I funding than they would be getting without number weighting. The Rural Trust's Formula Fairness Campaign includes a listing, by state, of every participating district's Title I funding, including information on the effect of number weighting on the district. That information is available at //www.formulafairness.com/state_tables. Because the formulas are complex, many school administrators and supporters do not fully realize how much funding they are not receiving. We want to continue to bring this important issue to light by sharing stories of the impact on actual school districts and their students through our Formula Fairness blog. If you know anyone who might be interested in talking with me about Title I funding in their district, please email me at editor@ruraledu.org or at robin.lambert@ruraledu.org. I will be glad to contact the person (please send email/phone number along with name and position), or the person can email me directly if they prefer. We recognize that some people might be hesitant to go on the record with all their perspectives, so we will be respectful of their wishes about what is published."

The Rural Education blog is interested in your stories as well. E-mail mschulken@epe.org.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Rural Education blog.