The neediest students are being shortchanged, concludes Funding Gaps, 2006, an Education Trust report. Federal Title 1 funds â€” $13 billion a year to fund extra help for low-income students â€” go disproportionately to wealthy states.
For example, Maryland has fewer poor children than Arkansas but receives 51 percent more Title I aid per poor child, even though Arkansas dedicates more of its taxable resources to education than wealthier Maryland.
In about half the states, high-poverty and high-minority districts receive less funding than low-poverty and low-minority districts.
On average, states and localities spend $908 less per student in districts educating the most students of color, and $825 less per student in districts educating the most low-income students as compared to what is spent in the wealthiest and whitest districts.
Within school districts, â€œsubstantially less money is spent in high-poverty and high-minority schools.â€ Experienced, top-scale teachers cluster in schools with more affluent students. Austin spends an extra $383,700 per year at an advantaged school with 100 teachers.
In addition, districts balance the federal funds for poor students by spending most of their extra state and local funding at lower-poverty schools.
It’s no surprise Title I hasn’t closed the achievement gap, the Washington Post points out.
Experts say children raised in poverty need more instructional time and specially trained teachers to help overcome their disadvantages — resources that require more spending.
More money won’t solve all the high-poverty schools’ problems, but they deserve at least as much as the kids in middle-class schools. In particular, it would make a real difference if needy schools could offer more money to lure experienced and master teachers.