The next great civil rights struggle: Disparity in education funding

2 Dec

Plessy v. Ferguson established the principle of “separate but equal” in race issues. Brown v. Board of Education which overturned the principle of “separate but equal.” would not have been necessary, but for Plessy. See also, the history of Brown v. Board of Education

If one believes that all children, regardless of that child’s status have a right to a good basic education and that society must fund and implement policies, which support this principle. Then, one must discuss the issue of equity in education. Because of the segregation, which resulted after Plessy, most folks focus their analysis of Brown almost solely on race. The issue of equity was just as important. The equity issue was explained in terms of unequal resources and unequal access to education.

People tend to cluster in neighborhoods based upon class as much as race. Good teachers tend to gravitate toward neighborhoods where they are paid well and students come from families who mirror their personal backgrounds and values. Good teachers make a difference in a child’s life. One of the difficulties in busing to achieve equity in education is that neighborhoods tend to be segregated by class as well as race. People often make sacrifices to move into neighborhoods they perceive mirror their values. That is why there must be good schools in all segments of the city and there must be good schools in all parts of this state. A good education should not depend upon one’s class or status.

I know that the lawyers in Brown were told that lawsuits were futile and that the legislatures would address the issue of segregation eventually when the public was ready. Meanwhile, several generations of African Americans waited for people to come around and say the Constitution applied to us as well. Generations of African Americans suffered in inferior schools. This state cannot sacrifice the lives of children by not addressing the issue of equity in school funding in a timely manner.

The next huge case, like Brown, will be about equity in education funding. It may not come this year or the next year. It, like Brown, may come several years after a Plessy. It will come. Equity in education funding is the civil rights issue of this century.

Sabra Bireda has a report from the Center for American Progress,Funding Education Equitably

The old axiom that the rich get richer certainly plays out in the American classroom—often to the detriment of achieving academic success. Data on intradistrict funding inequities in many large school districts confirm

what most would guess—high-poverty schools actually receive less money per pupil than more affluent schools.1 These funding inequities have real repercussions for the quality of education offered at high-poverty schools and a district’s ability to overcome the achievement gap between groups of students defined by family income or ethnicity.

The source of these funding inequities is not a deliberate scheme designed to steer more state and local funds to affluent schools. Rather it is often the result of an accumulation of higher-paid, more senior teachers working in low-poverty schools. High-poverty schools typically employ less-experienced, lower-paid teachers, thereby drawing down less of the district’s funds. The imbalance in funding created by this situation can total hundreds of thousands of dollars school by school.2 Archaic budgeting practices that track positions instead of actual school expenditures only serve to reinforce this inequity.

Bireda’s findings are supported by a U.S. Department of Education (Education Department) report.

In the report, Comparability of State and Local Expenditures Among Schools Within Districts: A Report From the Study of School-Level Expenditures, the Education Department finds:

For the study, Education Department researchers analyzed new school-level spending and teacher salary data submitted by more than 13,000 school districts as required by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. This school level expenditure data was made available for the first time ever in this data collection.

Using the data from the ARRA collection, Department staff analyzed the impact and feasibility of making this change to Title I comparability. That policy brief finds that:

  • Fixing the comparability provision is feasible. As many as 28 percent of Title I districts would be out of compliance with reformed comparability provisions. But compliance for those districts is not as costly as some might think—fixing it would cost only 1 percent to 4 percent of their total school-level expenditures on average.
  • Fixing the comparability provision would have a large impact. The benefit to low-spending Title I schools would be significant, as their expenditures would increase by 4 percent to 15 percent. And the low-spending schools that would benefit have much higher poverty rates than other schools in their districts.

Joy Resmovits discusses the report at Huffington Post.

In the article, School Districts Shortchange Low-Income Schools: Report, Resmovits reports:

It’s been long suspected that schools serving low-income students receive less money to pay their teachers than those in nearby affluent schools. Now there’s data from the U.S. Department of Education to back that claim up.

“The facts are out there like they’ve never been before,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said on a conference call with reporters Wednesday.

And the spending disparity affects teacher quality: As veteran teachers move to more affluent schools that can pay them more, students in poorer schools are more frequently taught by unseasoned teachers with little classroom experience.

In the the 13,000 districts surveyed, which encompass 82,000 of the nation’s 100,000 schools, more state and local money went to teacher salaries in high-income schools than in the district schools serving poor children, according to the new data. And 40 percent of low-income schools spent less on school employees in the 2008-2009 school year than other well-off schools within their districts.

“Low-income students need extra support and resources to succeed, but in far too many places, policies for assigning teachers and allocating resources are perpetuating the problem rather than solving it,” Duncan said.

According to the report, between 18 and 28 percent of low-income schools aren’t adequately staffed to meet their students’ needs. The report, titled “Comparability of State and Local Expenditures Among Schools Within Districts,” used data collected from 13,000 school districts that had to self-report information on how they spend money to receive 2009 stimulus dollars.

The report attributes the gap to a loophole in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the sweeping federal law on public education passed in 1965. That law created a special class of schools known as Title I that explicitly serve poorer students. The law aimed to ensure that those schools were appropriately funded.

But a loophole in the law’s reporting system that aimed to prevent school districts from using Title I dollars to plug overall budget gaps has allowed them to do just that. The law “often results in low-income schools subsidizing their high-income counterparts,” Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), the former Denver schools superintendent, said in a Wednesday statement.

“Too many disadvantaged children living below the poverty line are getting short-changed now,” Duncan said. Duncan called attention to a legislative fix his department proposed that’s included in a stalled draft of the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind Act ….

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/01/school-funding_n_1122298.html?1322748997&ref=education

Poorer schools have been subsidizing their more affluent counterparts.

See: 3rd world America: The link between poverty and education https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/11/20/3rd-world-america-the-link-between-poverty-and-education/

Race, class, and education in America https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/11/07/race-class-and-education-in-america/

Citation:

“Comparability of State and Local Expenditures Among Schools Within Districts: A Report From the Study of School-Level Expenditures” and “The Potential Impact of Revising the Title I Comparability Requirement to Focus on School-Level Expenditures” are available from the Department’s website at: http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/opepd/ppss/reports.html#title. The ARRA data set of school-level expenditures also is available on the same webpage. This data can be used to further explore disparities in school-level expenditures, the impact of district budgeting practices, and Title I comparability reform.

Related Resources:

Related Resources icon School-level expenditures report Related Resources icon Press call Related Resources icon Transcript of press call

All children have a right to a good basic education.

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

11 Responses to “The next great civil rights struggle: Disparity in education funding”

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  1. Schott Foundation study: An example of inequity in education « drwilda - May 17, 2012

    […] https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/02/the-next-great-civil-rights-struggle-disparity-in-education-… […]

  2. Flipped classrooms are more difficult in poorer schools « drwilda - June 18, 2012

    […] The next huge case, like Brown, will be about equity in education funding. It may not come this year or the next year. It, like Brown, may come several years after a Plessy. It will come. Equity in education funding is the civil rights issue of this century. https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/02/the-next-great-civil-rights-struggle-disparity-in-education-… […]

  3. Center for American Progress report: Disparity in education spending for education of children of color « drwilda - August 22, 2012

    […] The next huge case, like Brown, will be about equity in education funding. It may not come this year or the next year. It, like Brown, may come several years after a Plessy. It will come. Equity in education funding is the civil rights issue of this century. https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/02/the-next-great-civil-rights-struggle-disparity-in-education-… […]

  4. Study: Poverty affects education attainment « drwilda - August 29, 2012

    […] The next huge case, like Brown, will be about equity in education funding. It may not come this year or the next year. It, like Brown, may come several years after a Plessy. It will come. Equity in education funding is the civil rights issue of this century. https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/02/the-next-great-civil-rights-struggle-disparity-in-education-… […]

  5. A new take on school finance from State Budget Solutions « drwilda - September 16, 2012

    […] The next huge case, like Brown, will be about equity in education funding. It may not come this year or the next year. It, like Brown, may come several years after a Plessy. It will come. Equity in education funding is the civil rights issue of this century. https://drwilda.com/2011/12/02/the-next-great-civil-rights-struggle-disparity-in-education-funding/ […]

  6. The Civil Rights Project report: Segregation in education « drwilda - September 19, 2012

    […] The next huge case, like Brown, will be about equity in education funding. It may not come this year or the next year. It, like Brown, may come several years after a Plessy. It will come. Equity in education funding is the civil rights issue of this century. https://drwilda.com/2011/12/02/the-next-great-civil-rights-struggle-disparity-in-education-funding/ […]

  7. U.S. Supreme Court to decide the affirmative action case, Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin (Case No. 11-345) « drwilda - September 30, 2012

    […] a Plessy. It will come. Equity in education funding is the civil rights issue of this century. https://drwilda.com/2011/12/02/the-next-great-civil-rights-struggle-disparity-in-education-funding/ U.S. Supreme Court watchers are awaiting the decision in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin […]

  8. SACNAS scientists argue the superiority of diversity when discussing Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin (Case No. 11-345) « drwilda - November 4, 2012

    […] a Plessy. It will come. Equity in education funding is the civil rights issue of this century. https://drwilda.com/2011/12/02/the-next-great-civil-rights-struggle-disparity-in-education-funding/ U.S. Supreme Court watchers are awaiting the decision in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin […]

  9. The education opportunity divide: Parents face jail for wanting a better life for their child « drwilda - December 10, 2012

    […] The next huge case, like Brown, will be about equity in education funding. It may not come this year or the next year. It, like Brown, may come several years after a Plessy. It will come. Equity in education funding is the civil rights issue of this century. https://drwilda.com/2011/12/02/the-next-great-civil-rights-struggle-disparity-in-education-funding/ […]

  10. The education opportunity divide: Parents face jail for wanting a better life for their child « Comments From An Old Fart - December 10, 2012

    […] The next huge case, like Brown, will be about equity in education funding. It may not come this year or the next year. It, like Brown, may come several years after a Plessy. It will come. Equity in education funding is the civil rights issue of this century. https://drwilda.com/2011/12/02/the-next-great-civil-rights-struggle-disparity-in-education-funding/ […]

  11. California addresses school funding inequity | drwilda - August 22, 2013

    […] Moi wrote in The next great civil rights struggle: Disparity in education funding: Plessy v. Ferguson established the principle of “separate but equal” in race issues. Brown v. Board of Education which overturned the principle of “separate but equal.” would not have been necessary, but for Plessy. See also, the history of Brown v. Board of Education If one believes that all children, regardless of that child’s status have a right to a good basic education and that society must fund and implement policies, which support this principle. Then, one must discuss the issue of equity in education. Because of the segregation, which resulted after Plessy, most folks focus their analysis of Brown almost solely on race. The issue of equity was just as important. The equity issue was explained in terms of unequal resources and unequal access to education. People tend to cluster in neighborhoods based upon class as much as race. Good teachers tend to gravitate toward neighborhoods where they are paid well and students come from families who mirror their personal backgrounds and values. Good teachers make a difference in a child’s life. One of the difficulties in busing to achieve equity in education is that neighborhoods tend to be segregated by class as well as race. People often make sacrifices to move into neighborhoods they perceive mirror their values. That is why there must be good schools in all segments of the city and there must be good schools in all parts of this state. A good education should not depend upon one’s class or status. I know that the lawyers in Brown were told that lawsuits were futile and that the legislatures would address the issue of segregation eventually when the public was ready. Meanwhile, several generations of African Americans waited for people to come around and say the Constitution applied to us as well. Generations of African Americans suffered in inferior schools. This state cannot sacrifice the lives of children by not addressing the issue of equity in school funding in a timely manner. The next huge case, like Brown, will be about equity in education funding. It may not come this year or the next year. It, like Brown, may come several years after a Plessy. It will come. Equity in education funding is the civil rights issue of this century. https://drwilda.com/2011/12/02/the-next-great-civil-rights-struggle-disparity-in-education-funding/ […]

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