ED: poor kids get fewer resources
A major impediment to improving outcomes for disadvantaged children in the nation’s schools is misallocation of the more than $600 billion we spend annually on K-12 education. Marguerite Roza from CRPE and Cindy Brown from the Center for American Progress brought up this very point at our governance conference this morning. (Live feed is here if you want to tune in.)
The Department of Education just released a national study (pdf) confirming with hard data what many experts have said for years: rigid salary schedules established are a major source of inequity within school districts. (It’s important to stress that this is not a “loophole,” but a carefully structured policy embedded in most contracts at the behest of teacher unions.) Here’s CAP’s Cindy Brown in the New York Times:
A few researchers have documented the problem with statewide data in Florida and some other states, said Cynthia Brown, a vice president at the Center for American Progress, a liberal research group. “But I’m excited because this is the first time that data documenting the problem has ever been collected on a nationwide basis,” she said. “Many of us have known for a long time that in some individual districts the high-poverty schools weren’t getting their fair share of state and local funds.”
As Marguerite Roza said this morning at our conference, the way we spend money runs completely contrary to our stated priorities: We claim to give the disadvantaged a leg up through high-quality basic education, yet we spend more on wealthy kids than poor ones and more on PE teachers than math and science instructors. Our education finance system needs serious reform.
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About the Editor
Bernard Lee Schwartz Policy Fellow
Chris Tessone was a Bernard Lee Schwartz Policy Fellow and the Director of Finance of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. He has strong interests in governance and education finance, especially teacher compensation and school facilities finance.
May 23, 2013