School Funding and Finance

Websites

National School Finance Statistics for 2007 -- a report that includes median per pupil expenditure amounts for the top and bottom 5% of school districts in every state -- data are presented that clearly document continuing inequalities in school funding.

Is School Funding Fair? A National Report Card -- a 2010 report by the Education Law Center of Newark, NJ that reports that 80% of the states are doing a poor job of funding their schools fairly, which, by definition, means that generally the poorest schools are not receiving what they need, in comparison to wealthier districts.

U.S. Public Education Statistics, 2007 -- Good overview data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Funding Gap: Warning, Watch the Gap -- a 2008 report by The Education Trust about the issue of school funding inequalities -- compares state and local spending in school districts with the highest numbers of low-income students to those that have the lowest concentration of such students -- and does the same for districts with the highest and lowest numbers of minority students and high and low numbers of English language learners (ELL students). The report documents improvement in some states and "backsliding" in others.

The Funding Gap 2006 -- another report by The Education Trust about school funding inequalities -- "As Americans we rightly take pride in the fact that the United States has led the world in extending free public education to all children... What many Americans don't fully understand, however, is that even as we've extended a free public education to all children, we've rigged the system against the success of our most vulnerable children." The report discusses how federal education funds for low-income students are distributed among states, how spending differences among districts within states shortchange high poverty and high minority districts, and how even within districts less money is spent on the most disadvantaged students.

The Funding Gap 2005: Low Income and Minority Students Short-Changed by Most States -- a recent annual report by the Education Trust on the issue of school funding inequalities

The Funding Gap 2004: Many States Still Shortchange Low-Income and Minority Students -- 2004 research by the Education Trust about inequalities in school funding.

What Research Says About Unequal Funding for Schools in America -- an excellent research synthesis by Bruce Biddle and David Berliner, 2003.

Aid Disparities in Needy Schools Seen as Rising -- a 2004 report about how the gap in school funding between wealthy and poor districts is growing in most states.

Education Finance Statistics Center -- national statistics for the U.S., by state, at the National Center for Education Statistics.

"Savage Inequalities" Revisited -- an article relating the 2002 study, "The Funding Gap," by the Education Trust, to Jonathan Kozol's 1990 research and book, "Savage Inequalities."

The Return to Separate and Unequal: Metropolitan Milwaukee School Funding Through a Racial Lens -- the full report available online -- includes documentation of how Milwaukee's school funding has fallen further and further below the state average as the percentage of students of color served by the district has increased.

The Return to Separate and Unequal -- an article about funding inequalities and related racial discrimination in Wisconsin and Milwaukee.

No Accounting for Fairness: Equitable Education Funding -- a study that examines funding patterns in Ohio's 14 largest school systems by looking at publicly available school-level expenditure data on teacher salaries, which typically account for 80 to 90 percent of elementary school budgets. The analysis found that expenditures on teacher salaries during the 2007-08 year varied dramatically between elementary schools, even within the same district.

Their Fair Share: How Texas-Sized Gaps in Teacher Quality Shortchange Poor and Minority Students -- a study of Texas’s 50 largest school districts that finds significant teacher quality and pay gaps throughout the state.

Their Fair Share: How Teacher Salary Gaps Shortchange Minority Students in Texas -- a study that documents funding patterns in the state’s 10 largest school systems, showing how average teacher salaries vary dramatically between schools within the same district. The report describe gaps in per-teacher spending, and how those gaps "stack the deck" against the academic success of low-income, Hispanic and African American children.

New Jersey School Report Cards -- a data base that presents, among other things, per pupil expenditure amounts for school districts throughout the state.

Funding Disparities Squeeze ELL Efforts -- a 2009 article about the challenges of funding and developing effective programs for English Language Learners.

Money Makes a Difference -- a recent research report from a federal educational research organization.

Study Calls for Tightly Tying School Funding to Strategic Goals -- an article about a six year study, completed in 2008, that argues for reforming the way we finance schools and connecting this reform to improved and more effective ways to spend education money.

Funding Student Learning: How to Align Education Resources with Student learning Goals -- a national study that concludes, "The bottom line is that education finance needs to be redesigned to support student performance.” The researchers argue that school finance systems must be reformed and education money must be more clearly directed at funding policies and practices that produce student learning.

Investing in Learning: School Funding Policies to Foster High Performance -- a report by the Committee for Economic Development, that as education policies focus more forcefully on student achievement, policymakers need to overhaul 20th-century school finances in ways that support and encourage learning.

Court Orders New York City Funding Shift -- an article about a precedent-setting ruling in July, 2003, that directs the New York State legislature to reform how it finances education -- the case acknowledges inequalities that negatively affect New York City schools and students, and it has implications beyond New York State.

Public School Review -- a site with information, including per-pupil expenditure rates, for almost every public school in the country.

The Alliance for Quality Education -- an activist group in New York State working to achieve equality in education funding in New York -- they provide lots of useful data and ideas for reform, for New York State.

The Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) -- The organization leading the legal battle for school funding reform in New York State.

The Educational Priorities Panel (EPP) -- an organization dedicated to improving "the quality of public education for New York City's children, so there is no longer a performance gap between city schools and those in the rest of the state -- this site has useful data and information related to the pursuit of school funding reform.

The Midstate Finance Consortium -- an organization dedicated to achieving school funding reform in New York State.

21st Century School Finance: How Is the Context Changing? -- a good article about current changes relevant to the school funding issue.

Financing Schools -- an entire Issue of The Future of Children, 7(3), 1997, Winter, devoted to the issue of school funding inequalities and solutions -- many excellent articles -- published by the Center for the Future of Children, The David and Lucille Packard Foundation.

Financing Schools: Analysis and Recommendations -- an excellent article from 1997 -- now a bit dated in some of its specifics, but still useful in its overview and basic points .

Understanding the Impact of the School Funding Gap -- a 2002 case study in Illinois.

Redesigning School Finance -- information regarding possible funding reforms.

School Funding Equity -- a site with lots of good articles and information.

Missouri Supreme Court Upholds School Funding Formula -- a legal effort by 523 of Missouri's public school districts, to reform the financing of Missouri schools to make it more equitable, was rebuffed by the high court in that state, Sept. 2009.

Texas School Finance Disparities -- an article about a 1998 report in Texas.

Fair Funding for Texas School Children -- a 2003 essay about attempts to address funding inequalities in Texas -- some progress has been made, but significant inequalities remain.

Public Elementary-Secondary Education Finance Data -- government financial data including revenues, expenditures, debt, and assets of elementary and secondary public school systems.

The SAGE Program -- The Student Achievement Guarantee in Education (SAGE) program has been proven to improve student achievement in schools serving low-income communities. It does this through solid funding of schools, a reduction in class size, longer school hours, collaboration with community organizations, rigorous curriculum and high standards for teachers. When compared with the use of vouchers, this program produces higher levels of achievement through funding and school reform than does school choice.

Reconsidering No Child Left Behind -- A news radio program about how some school officials, especially in rural areas, say the federal mandate is inflexible and their school systems cannot meet the demands. Several states are considering opting out of federal funds just to escape the federal mandate. Includes lots of links to related stories and issues.


Some Good Books & Articles

Adams, J. (Ed.). 2010.  Smart Money: Using Educational Resources to Accomplish Ambitious Learning Goals. Harvard Education Press.

Biddle, B. 1997. Foolishness, Dangerous Nonsense, and Real Correlates of State Differences in Achievement. Phi Delta Kappan, 79(1): 8-13.

Biddle, B. & Berliner, D. 2002. Small Class Sizes and Its Effects. Educational Leadership, 59(5): 12-23.

Biddle, B. & Berliner, D. 2002. Unequal School Funding in the United States. Educational Leadership, 59(8), 48-59.

Elliot, M. 1998. School Finance and Opportunity to Learn: Does Money Well Spent Enhance Students' Achievement? Sociology of Education, 71(3): 223-245.

Firestone, W. 1997. From Cashbox to Classroom. Teachers College Press.

Greenwald, R. Hedges, L. & Laine, R. 1996. The Effect of School Expenditures on School Achievement. Review of Educational Research, 66(3): 361-396.

Hess, F. and Osberg, E. (Eds.) 2010. Stretching the School Dollar: How Schools and Districts Can Save Money While Serving Students Best. Harvard Education Press.

Karp, S. et al., 1997. Funding for Justice: Money, Equity and the Future of Public Education. Rethinking Schools.

Khadaroo, S. 2010. Economic Segregation Rising in U.S. Public Schools. May 27, Christian Science Monitor.

Kozol, J. 1991. Savage Inequalities: Children in America's Schools. Harper.

Kozol, J. 2005. The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in the America. Crown.

Maxwell, L. 2010.  New R.I. School Funding Formula Aims at Equity. Education Week, 29(37), July 19.

Monk, D. & Brent, B. 1997. Raising Money for Education: A Guide to Property Tax. Corwin Press.

Payne, K. & Biddle, B. 1999. Poor School Funding, Child Poverty, and Mathematics Achievement. Educational Researcher, 28(6): 4-13.

Slavin, R. 1999. How Can Funding Equity Ensure Enhanced Achievement? Journal of Education Finance, 24(4): 519-528.

Wenglinsky, H. 1997. How Money Matters: The Effect of School District Spending on Academic Achievement. Sociology of Education, 70(3): 221-237.

 

Films & Videos

Children in America's Schools. 1997 -- a powerful documentary about school funding inequalities and their consequences, in Ohio.

 

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