Funding fundamentals

School Funding's Tragic Flaw ,??a new paper from Education Sector's Kevin Carey and Marguerite Roza of the Center on Reinventing Public Education is a nice, quick introduction to the reasons that school funding is often inequitable and unfair and??under-funds the neediest schools. Carey and Roza contrast two schools (one in Virginia and the other in North Carolina)??that serve??similar kids but??have drastically different budgets to show why inequity persists.

They point to a number of problems. Federal Title I funding is skewed toward the wealthiest states, and at the district level, its sneaky ???comparability??? provision effectively erases differences in teacher salaries between schools, giving schools with more experienced teachers more than their fair share of dollars. (District budgeting practices are to blame for that, too.) And some states are far better than others at making up for local property wealth differences.

Carey and Roza call for some sensible solutions, including changes to Title I and for districts to let money follow the child --that is, to ???allocate a standard amount of money per student to each school.??? These ideas may not be new to Flypaper regulars, but this paper is worth checking out because it plainly explains some complicated problems.

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