Center for American Progress report: Disparity in education spending for education of children of color

22 Aug

In 3rd world America: Money changes everything, moi said:

Sabrina Tavernise wrote an excellent New York Times article, Education Gap Grows Between Rich and Poor, Studies Say:

It is a well-known fact that children from affluent families tend to do better in school. Yet the income divide has received far less attention from policy makers and government officials than gaps in student accomplishment by race.

Now, in analyses of long-term data published in recent months, researchers are finding that while the achievement gap between white and black students has narrowed significantly over the past few decades, the gap between rich and poor students has grown substantially during the same period.

We have moved from a society in the 1950s and 1960s, in which race was more consequential than family income, to one today in which family income appears more determinative of educational success than race,” said Sean F. Reardon, a Stanford University sociologist. Professor Reardon is the author of a study that found that the gap in standardized test scores between affluent and low-income students had grown by about 40 percent since the 1960s, and is now double the testing gap between blacks and whites.

The increased rate of poverty has profound implications if this society believes that ALL children have the right to a good basic education.

Daniel de Vise has written the thought provoking Washington Post article, State grant aid goes increasingly to the wealthy:

But what the report really advocates is that all states base their grant programs primarily on need. Its top recommendation: “Focus resources on students whose chance of enrolling and succeeding in college will be most improved by the receipt of state support.”

A surprisingly large number of states don’t do that….

The report de Vise refers to is Beyond Need and Merit: Strengthening State Grant Programs, which was released by Brookings Institute (Brookings) .

State Profiles


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The Center for American Progress (CAP) has just issued the report, Students of color are being shortchanged across the country when compared to their white peers which analyzes disparity in education spending.

Here is the press release for the CAP report:

Students of color are being shortchanged across the country when compared to their white peers.

By Ary Spatig-Amerikaner | August 22, 2012

  • Download the report:
  • Download introduction & summary:
  • Read it in your browser:

Endnotes and citations are included in the PDF version of this report.

In 1954 the Supreme Court declared that public education is “a right which must be made available to all on equal terms.”That landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education stood for the proposition that the federal government would no longer allow states and municipalities to deny equal educational opportunity to a historically oppressed racial minority. Ruling unanimously, the justices overturned the noxious concept that “separate” education could ever be “equal.”

Yet today, nearly 60 years later, our schools remain separate and unequal. Almost 40 percent of black and Hispanic students attend schools where more than 90 percent of students are nonwhite. The average white student attends a school where 77 percent of his or her peers are also white. Schools today are “as segregated as they were in the 1960s before busing began.” We are living in a world in which schools are patently separate.

In Brown the Court focused on the detrimental impact of legal separation—the fact that official segregation symbolized and reinforced the degraded status of blacks in America. Today’s racial separation in schools may not have the formal mandate of local law, but it just as surely reflects and reinforces lingering status differences between whites and nonwhites by enabling a system of public education funding that shortchanges students of color.

Separate will always be unequal. But just how unequal is the education we offer our students of color today? This paper answers this question using one small but important measure—per-pupil state and local spending. This fraction of spending is certainly not the only useful measure of educational opportunity. How we spend our money is perhaps more important.But newly released data give us the opportunity to shed new light, specifically on inequity in spending from state and local sources.

For the first time ever, the U.S. Department of Education in 2009 collected school-level expenditure data that includes real teacher salaries. Amazingly, this had never been done before. I use these data to examine per-pupil spending in public schools, finding that:

  • Students of color are being shortchanged across the country when compared to their white peers.
  • The traditional explanation—that variation in schools’ per-pupil spending stems almost entirely from different property-tax bases between school districts—is inaccurate. In fact, approximately 40 percent of variation in per-pupil spending occurs within school districts.
  • 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.

Variation within a district is largely due to district budgeting policies that ignore how much money teachers actually earn. When veteran teachers elect to move to low-need schools in richer, whiter neighborhoods, they bring higher salaries to those schools. New teachers who tend to start out in high-need schools, serving many students of color and poor students, earn comparatively low salaries. This leads to significantly lower per-pupil spending in the schools with the highest concentrations of nonwhite students.

To date, the size of the problem has been difficult to measure due to a lack of data. Other researchers have made important contributions to these conversations by documenting a pattern of underinvestment in minority students, but they have been hampered by a frustrating lack of information. In 2009 the Obama administration showed that it recognized the importance of this issue by including a requirement in the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009 that districts report actual state and local spending on school-level personnel and nonpersonnel resources in school year 2008–09. In December 2011 the administration released the information to the public.

My analysis based on these new data calls into question a specific federal policy that is supposed to guard against within-district inequities. Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act is the federal government’s primary contribution to public education for students living in poverty. In order to receive Title I money, school districts have to promise to provide educational services to their higher-poverty schools that are “comparable” to those provided to the lower-poverty schools.

School districts across the country routinely tell the federal government that they are meeting this requirement. But the law explicitly requires districts to exclude teacher salary differentials tied to experience when determining comparability compliance. This is a major exclusion because experience is a chief driver of teachers’ salaries. This misleading process leads to a misleading result—districts think they are providing equal spending on high-need schools and low-need schools, even though they aren’t. This problem has been frequently called the comparability loophole.

The comparability requirement is, similar to most federal education law, silent on race. This paper builds upon the well-documented correlation between people of color and people living in poverty to assess the ongoing impact of the comparability loophole on students of color.

In the first part of this paper, I paint a detailed picture of what is happening for our students of color across the country. The second part models two alternative futures in which state and local spending experience a one-time growth of approximately 4 percent. In the first model, present policy trends continue—we do not close the comparability loophole. In the second, we close the loophole by “leveling up” spending in schools that are currently being shortchanged. Table 1 presents the top-line findings.

Ary Spatig-Amerikaner has a law degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree in public policy from the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley.

To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:

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In 3rd world America: The economy affects the society of the future, moi said:

One of the major contributors to poverty in third world nations is limited access to education opportunities. Without continued sustained investment in education in this country, we are the next third world country. All over the country plans are being floated to cut back the school year or eliminate programs which help the most disadvantaged.

In The next great civil rights struggle: Disparity in education funding moi said:

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.


Report: Black students more likely to be suspended

Is there a ‘model minority’ ??                        

Book: Inequality in America affects education outcome

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

6 Responses to “Center for American Progress report: Disparity in education spending for education of children of color”


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