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Neins NeintyNein

on 16 September 2010

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Double click anywhere & add an idea Financing Schools:
Equity or Disparity.
From the very beginning of the American school system, one standing question has remained at the head of all others: “How do we finance our schools?” 1776-1930 While it is true many Americans viewed education as one of mankind’s basic civil rights, they feared that it might be one more avenue for governmental control over the people. To solve this they implemented a system of control on the local level. In this system public schools were financed via property tax laws that were imposed by local governments. Because the cash flow came locally the primary control of the schools was overseen by the district in which the people who attended any particular school lived. Through local school boards the people were able to hire teachers, control the curriculum, and control funding. This system remained in place until the 1930s 1930s-1940s The problem with the Republican Period system was that when a school district did eventually run out of money it was forced to close its doors. There was nowhere to go for help. The depression was one of the primary instigators for change in the way we finance school systems. Due to the extreme poverty of the time period most schools were partially financed through state income and sales tax (Mackey, 1998). In fact in the 20 years between 1930 and 1950 the financial contributions doubled, finally making up 40% of the total budget in public schools (Mackey, 1998). This percentage is constantly rising. 1950s-Today Nationally, financing from the states make up almost half of the total revenue in individual school districts (Zhou, 2008). Local funding is now a little less than half with the rest (around 7%) coming from federal tax dollars (Zhou, 2008). Bills such as No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and the coinciding Title I, a stipulation of No Child Left Behind, were designed to subsidize state efforts in order to provide equal opportunity chances for the country’s lower class students. However since 1965 Title I has been inadequately funded, and ever sense NCLB the funding has remained less than the level authorized by the original bill (Rendell, 2005). Title 1 funds are garnered through the multiplication of the state average per-pupil expenditure by only 40% of children in each county living under the poverty guidelines (Brown, 2007). Title 1 Title 1 of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (formerly known as ECIA, ESEA or Chapter 1) is the largest federally funded educational program. This program, authorized by Congress, provides supplemental funds to school districts to assist schools with the highest student concentrations of poverty to meet school educational goals.

Schools qualify based on demonstrating that the K-12, ages 5-17, membership has a sufficiently high percentage of economically disadvantaged students. Title 1 regulations require school districts to provide services to all schools where at least 75% of students qualify for free or reduced price meals.

Once a school qualifies, funds are then allocated in the spring based on a formula developed at the district office that projects the number of qualifying children at the school for the following year. Occasionally, a further adjustment is made after the first month of school the year funds are allocated, to ensure that schools receive funds commensurate with the number of qualifying children actually enrolled. Info on Title 1 gathered from:

Hillsborough County Public Schools, Florida USA
901 East Kennedy Boulevard, Tampa, Florida 33602 USA - (813)272-4000 No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Info gathered from the US department of Education
NCLB is based on 4 pillars 1) Stronger Accountability for Results Under No Child Left Behind, states are working to close the achievement gap and make sure all students, including those who are disadvantaged, achieve academic proficiency. 2) More Freedom for States and Communities Under No Child Left Behind, states and school districts have unprecedented flexibility in how they use federal education funds. 3) Proven Education Methods No Child Left Behind puts emphasis on determining which educational programs and practices have been proven effective through rigorous scientific research. Federal funding is targeted to support these programs and teaching methods that work to improve student learning and achievement. 4) More Choices for Parents Parents of children in low-performing schools have new options under No Child Left Behind. In schools that do not meet state standards for at least two consecutive years, parents may transfer their children to a better-performing public school, including a public charter school, within their district. The district must provide transportation, using Title I funds if necessary. Students from low-income families in schools that fail to meet state standards for at least three years are eligible to receive supplemental educational services, including tutoring, after-school services, and summer school. Also, students who attend a persistently dangerous school or are the victim of a violent crime while in their school have the option to attend a safe school within their district. Problems Statistics Drawbacks of the current system: Hypothetical situation (taken from Financing Schools: Equity or Disparity)

2 districts: one poor (District 1), one rich (District 2):

•Both adopt the same property tax rate of around 2%
-District 2 the total value of property averages to be about $250,000 per enrolled child

•District 2 raises around $5000 to spend on each student in its schools.
-District 1 the total value of property averages out to be $50,000 per enrolled child

•District 1 raises around $1000 to spend on each student in its schools.
-In order to be equal with District 2, District 1 would have to raise their tax rate to 10%. Proponents of a new centralized financial system argue that even if District 1 would raise its taxes there still would never be enough income to equal District 2 due to caps placed on tax, these caps are made up of a mix of economic and political reasons (Noguera, 2004). Despite complaints that there is an increasingly large amount of money being spent of the current school system, only 12% is actually spent on K-12 education.

Low funding=Low test scores.
The U.S. government spends only 10% of federal funding, resulting in students having to depend on local and state governments to raise funds for schooling. Those Against! (Taken from Financing Schools: Equity or Disparity) Those who argue against centralized school systems point out that in the last three decades the American educational system has spent more money on each individual child’s education than any other industrialized nation. Within that period funding rose a dramatic 60% and the spending for each pupil tripled! Wooster's 5 year forcast 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Double Sided Issue! Side 2 Those that are against a centralized system : Those that are against a more centralized system of schooling contest that the problem of poor academic progress in urban schools does not lay with the lack of funds going into the schools, but rather a wider range of problems The first being “Patronage” Patronage: the power to make appointments to government jobs especially for political advantage Urban school districts have a long a sordid history of people in power giving jobs to unqualified patrons.

More often than not these jobs are handed out by politicians in exchange for votes. These people are given jobs without any expectation for actual work (Connors, 1971). These positions are filled by people who have no real idea of what their job actually entails (Morris, 1989).
Do you think this history of patronage is partly responsible for ineffective inner-city teachers?

How else do you think patronage hampers the school systems in urban areas?
Opponents also argue that instead of diverting money to schools with large numbers of failing students, it would be wiser to use that money to fund public works such as social services, fighting crime, recreational facilities, and creating jobs. All in hopes of improving the home lives of the students. Research shows that students who grow up with no education role models, and poor family backgrounds account for the majority of poor school performances. There is no strong concrete relationship between school expenditure and student performance (Hanushek, 1989, p.46). Do you agree that funding has no direct correlation with student performance?

Is the problem simply under qualified teachers?

Side 1 believes that a more centralized form of financing is beneficial. For them an over reliance on the local community for funding is a broken system that always results in unfair disparities among schools. Is a radical rethinking of the school financial system needed? Equality among the schools would be better served if the state had full access to all the tax money that went into each school district and could then distribute it unequally. Then each district could receive the amount of money determined to be needed to provide an “adequate” education. What constitutes adequate? Those living in poverty would receive a higher per-pupil allotment. Schools would then be able to afford the resources needed to better serve the individual needs of their students. Oversight by the state and federal government is needed to ensure that all resources are being spent correctly. How would the state determine if a school needed extra financing? Couldn’t this system also be broken?

Can we come up with a better solution on how to go about providing funds and deciding which school gets extra funding?
Already we are seeing the pressure created by NCLB causing such a system of accountability to take place. Is this simply a more glorified version of NCLB?
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