Pulic School Funding

Topics: High school, Poverty, Education in the United States Pages: 6 (2077 words) Published: October 3, 2005
Low Funding Equals Low Success

Should a child's wealth determine whether or not he or she can get a quality education? Funding for public schools is an enormous issue that affects many people. A major issue is unequal funding throughout the country. There are various reasons for these differences, from the governmental level to the lack of public support. There is a need to re-work the current formula used by states to determine how school funds are disbursed and also to increase public support for education funding. After all, whether a child is wealthy or poor, it is in everyone's interests to ensure that America's future generations are both skilled and educated. Limited funds for public schools have primarily affected the poor and have put them at a disadvantage in getting a quality education.

Unequal funding through out the country demonstrates the unfairness some school districts face. According to "School Funding," an article by PBS, the facts and figures of government spending on public schools is very imbalanced. In order to understand the problems of education in America, it is necessary to look at the way public schools are financed. As the article notes, "expenditures are not equal from state to state because of the different costs of education and inputs and real estate and teacher salaries"(1). An example is New Jersey spending twice as much as Utah per student. It is more striking to see how a district within a state varies tremendously as well. The example it used to compare the disparity is how district spending in San Antonio, Texas ranged from $2,112 to $19,333. (2) Because of that disproportion, low income schools have the short end of the stick.

The federal government has tried to alleviate the gap by passing laws that benefits schools more equally. President Bush set up a program to ensure that all children are getting the quality education they need and deserve. President Bush's "No Child Left Behind Act" is a program that sets standards for academic success and requires schools to achieve a certain level in yearly testing. According to an article written in the Boston Globe, President Bush purposed spending $1.5 billion to expand this education reform to public high schools and require the students to take a yearly test in reading and mathematics. (A1) Teachers and school administrators criticize this act because it is under funded and unworkable. The National Education Association says that "testing just gives more bureaucracy and paperwork . . . parents and teachers want smaller class sizes, textbooks, and supplies."(32) The article does state that the Department of Education credits the "No Child Left Behind Ac"t for improving reading and math test scores. It addresses that although progress has been shown in elementary schools, it is more complicated at the high school level because there is a greater tradition of putting students on different tracks. (33) It points out that although the No Child Left Behind Act is backed with good intentions, but it is difficult to implement.

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, state education policymakers are focused on establishing a more thorough academic standard of achievement among schools and students. Student scores on state mandated standardized tests are used to assess school performance, which the federal government recently increased requirements for academic improvement in the "No Child Left Behind Act" (Carey 1). It describes how states are developing systems to track the continuing progress of every pupil, making promotion and graduation dependent on academic progress, and evaluating the performance of administrators and teachers based on the students' achievements (2). Wealthier schools have less of a problem integrating this in their school system and see more benefits from it. The No Child Left Behind Act creates challenges for school districts that serve large numbers of low-income children....

Cited: Buddin, Richard, Brian Gill, and Ron Zimmer. "Examining Federal Impact Aid 's Reimbursement for Local School Districts." Contemporary Economic Policy. 22.4 (2004): 534-543.
Carey, Kevin. "State Poverty-based Funding: A Survey of Current Programs and Options for Improvement." Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. 2002. 1 Apr. 2005

"Funding for Educational Projects." School Funding Services. 2005. New American Schools. 4 Apr 2005 < http://www.schoolfundingservices.org/>
Milligan, Susan. "Bush Seeks to Expand Education Act." Boston Globe 13 Jan.
2005: A1
"School Funding." Online News Hour. 2005. PBS Online. 16 Mar. 2005
< www.pbs.org/newshour/backgrounders/school_funding.html>
"What Now?" NEA Today 23.4 (2005): 32-33.
Zielinski, David. "No Nickel Left Behind." Presentations 18.9 (2004): 31-35.
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