- An analysis by the advocacy group Education Trust-New York finds that education funding in the state is not distributed proportionally to New York City schools with higher needs, even though New York spends more per student than any other state, Chalkbeat reports.
- As an example, the analysis notes that the neediest 25% of NYC elementary and middle schools have a student population with an average of 96% of low-income students compared to 45% at the schools with lowest needs, yet the high-need schools receive only 15% more state funding. High-need schools also have a higher percentage of inexperienced teachers.
- An education department spokesman points out that the analysis does not reflect the costs of additional literacy coaches and social services targeted at low-income schools and leaves out computations of $600 million in federal Title I money targeted at low-income schools. The city is also owed $1.2 billion in education funding by the state, which would help fund formulas designed to give extra support to high-needs schools.
The findings in New York City were based on data received last month under a new state law that requires certain school districts to reveal more details about how education funds are allocated. However, schools nationwide will be facing more scrutiny about educational funding in the coming years as new reporting regulations take effect under the Every Student Succeeds Act. New regulations are also requiring school districts to more equitably distribute high-quality teachers so that students in high-poverty schools have a better shot at experienced teachers. As these new guidelines take effect, discussions over equity issues are likely to only increase.
Recent research indicates that the amount of money a school receives can make an impact on student achievement. At the federal level, Title I funds attempt to correct the situation. However, state funding formulas may either increase or lessen the impact of that funding, depending on how it is distributed.
At the local level, more affluent counties in some states and school districts can offer higher teacher supplements to attract better quality teachers and, as a result, increase per student spending. Some schools may have access to more funding because of higher property values in the area. And, at the grass roots level, parents' fund-raising efforts often skew attempts at equity because more affluent parents raise more money for supplemental resources. Though school districts can take measures to make education more equitable, family income will always play a role in the quality of education a child receives. Poverty also impacts students' learning in more ways than one.