“School Funding’s Tragic Flaw”
Federal, state, and local systems for distributing public funds to schools often systematically favor wealthier schools and students over those with fewer resources, a new report says.
Researchers from the Center on Reinventing Public Education at the University of Washington in Seattle and from Education Sector, a think tank based in the nation’s capital, unpack some of the funding mechanisms in the federal Title I program, state school funding laws, and local hiring practices that lead to dramatic disparities among schools serving similar student populations.
The authors illustrate their point with a case study of two schools serving high concentrations of poor students—Cameron Elementary School in suburban Fairfax County, Va., and Ponderosa Elementary School in rural Cumberland County, N.C. At $14,040 per pupil, the report finds, Cameron’s annual funding level is twice that of its North Carolina counterpart.
A version of this article appeared in the May 21, 2008 edition of Education Week