Beyond Brown: Pursuing the Promise Image Strip of Linda Brown walking to school, girl taking test at desk, Nettie Hunt and daughter with newspaper headline on steps of Supreme Court, present day children raising hands, children at computers
Long Road to Brown
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It's all about the money...
Summary Factsheet Video Resources
The Social Cost of School Financing

• 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 25 percent.

• 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

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