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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