• Federal funding targeting low-income students grew by nearly
$3 billion from 2001 to 2003, though these new funding levels still
fall short of the additional amounts authorized in the original
No Child Left Behind Act. However, federal dollars still make up
less than 10 percent of school funding, which is primarily based
on state and local tax revenues.
• The vast majority of intensely segregated minority schools
face conditions of concentrated poverty, which are powerfully related
to unequal educational opportunity.
• In 22 states, the highest poverty school districts receive
less per-student funding from state and local sources than the district
with the lowest proportion of students living in poverty. This is
also true of the nation as a whole — the poorest 25 percent
of school districts nationwide receive less funding than the wealthiest
• In 28 states, the school districts with the highest percentage
of minority children receive less funding than districts with the
fewest minority children.
• Some states have made significant progress in creating parity
in spending. New Jersey (which is under court order to make school
funding more equitable) has gone from providing high poverty schools
with $587 less in cost- adjusted dollars per student in 1997 to
$398 more in 2001, an improvement of $1000 per student.
• Other states that have made significant gains towards parity
include Georgia, Indiana, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico,
New York and Wyoming. Massachusetts made a smaller gain. Changes
occurred through a combination of legislative initiatives, school-funding
lawsuits, and public pressure.
• As a result of lawsuits and state legislation, the proportion
of education funding provided by states has surpassed the proportion
provided by local districts.
• The biggest increase in the funding gap occurred in Arizona,
where the gap between high- and low-poverty districts widened from
$387 in 1997 to $1,235 in 2001 in cost-adjusted dollars per student.
Other states that saw significant widening include California, Maryland,
Illinois, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
• The National Center for Education Statistics reports that
in schools with minority enrollments of less than 6 percent, 74
percent of the instructional classrooms have Internet access. But
in schools that have minority enrollments of more than 50 percent,
only 43 percent of the instructional classrooms have Internet access.
In schools where less than 11 percent of students are poor ,74 percent
of instructional classrooms have Internet access. But in schools
with more than 71 percent poor students, only 39 percent of instructional
classrooms have Internet access.
• A 1999 survey by National Public Radio, the Kaiser Family
Foundation, and the Kennedy School of Government found that 83 percent
of Americans favor equalizing school funding, even at the price
of transferring resources from wealthy districts to poor ones.
Sources of Information: The Education
Trust (The Education Trust uses U.S. Departments of Education statistics
and offers cost-adjusted calculations, analysis and comparisons,
factoring in local price differences and adjustments for the higher
costs of educating low-income students and disabled students); Racial
Equity and Higher Education by Dr. K. Edward Renner, published in
Academe Jan/Feb. 2003; The Civil Rights Project, Harvard University;
Taking Charge by Ted Halstead and Michael Lind published in The
Washington Monthly April, 2001