It’s Time for Equitable Spending of State and Local Dollars

We believe that every child should receive a strong education that prepares him or her for success in college, careers, and life.

It shouldn’t matter what a child looks like, how much his or her parent makes, or what zip code they live in; all students should be given the same opportunity and resources to achieve. However, because our country has long used local property taxes to fund schools, school funding is not spent at equal levels.

“In today’s world, we have to equip all our kids with an education that prepares them for success, regardless of what they look like, or how much their parents make, or the zip code they live in.”                                                                                                                                                         – President Obama

According to our latest data, students from low-income families in 23 states are being shortchanged when it comes to state and local education funding. In these states, districts serving the highest percentage of students from low-income families are spending fewer state and local dollars per pupil than districts that have fewer students in poverty.

Twenty states also have school districts that spend fewer state and local dollars on districts with a high percentage of minority students, than they do on districts with fewer minority students.

Our recent numbers looks specifically at spending inequalities between school districts, but we also know that in too many places, the spending problems are made worse by inequalities in spending between schools within districts. That’s why we need to close the “comparability loophole” in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) – to be sure that districts start with a level playing field so federal dollars go to their intended purpose of providing additional support for students who need it most.

Educators know that low-income students need extra resources and support to succeed, and the good news is that nothing is preventing states from correcting course and ensuring that all students are prepared to succeed. In fact, states like Indiana, Minnesota, New Jersey, and North Dakota are allocating money in a more equitable manner to help all students prepare for college and careers.

All of us have a role to play when it comes to ensuring that students from low-income families aren’t shortchanged. At the federal level, we’re ready to work with Congress to close the federal loophole that allows districts to allocate funds inequitably.

Recently, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan laid out his vision for a new Elementary and Secondary Education Act, including the idea that opportunity for every child needs to be part of our national conscience.




  1. The district is the most qualified to determine how best to spend the education dollar. State and especially Federal mandates harm the schools, students, and community. The teacher is the most valuable asset in education, and mandates tie up the monies that should be going into their pockets instead. Not to mention the federally-endorsed corporate profiting at the expense of our students. If the USDeptofEd wanted equality, standardized testing would cease.

  2. I believe that Secretary Duncan and President Obama, as wise leaders, need to do be more proactive about influencing Congress since Reauthorization is up and running. Maybe, their Blueprint on Education
    Reform needs to be revised. Particularly, in the areas Parental Involvement and how to build bridges between the PTA and School Site Councils. Candidly, asking for more funds … and not stating clearly of what the dollars is going to be used for is unethical, and it is reprehensible behavior in the face of the facts that racial minority school children living in disadvantaged areas need so much more help that nobody can really estimate or approximate where to start from! We all say that we want America to return back to its heyday of being a Champion for Education on an International Scale by its achievement & pursuit levels of our youngsters, but even back then I don’t believe black and Latino youngsters got everything or even half of what’s now required. But; standing in the face of the “Winds of Wrath” now that Republicans have taken over in Congress there needs to be a little more sagely wisdom show in how to build and maintain partisanship so that even in the inevitability of having to face the iron wall of stigma & discrimination there were many victories. And I’m glad to report it was because of two-parent families and their grounding in strong neighborhood churches. Churches in the urban inner cities of America and in rural areas too, still don’t play a vital role in collaborations with local public schools. And why not? I believe it’s because the Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnership doesn’t have an idea on how
    to build relationships between people of different class levels and who or may not be of the same ethnic/racial group. So, you see they lack cultural competency and can’t produce at the staff level the type of representation which is desired for this Age. Congregants from the lay class of denominational church membership don’t have any empowerment at all as expressed as religious experts within the walls of government which is a wonderful place to witness within and which is a practice called for by Jesus and the Founding Fathers of our Constitution. Regrettably, far to many believers who are involved in the Faith-Based Initiatives movement within state and federal government are from the clergy class and who tend to be middle to upper middle class and that means they are not living in the ghetto or barrio! So, let’s get real because we got a mammoth problem of unintentional class discrimination and there needs to be something done about it immediately, since Reauthorization is being considered and will be enacted sooner than later. Current staff of the US Department of Education’s Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnership needs to be reviewed for improvements. Recommend that two very low-income to low-income parents who can demonstrate genuine communication skills be hired as National Outreach Coordinators. And then wait … and watch for the changes of a – “Mighty Stream of Justice Rolling down A Hill.”

  3. Dear Secretary of Education Arne Duncan:

    Hello and how are you?

    Very fine I hope.

    Thanks for the excellent work that the U.S. Department of Education is doing to help all of the educators, parents and students obtain the funding and support that is needed to equitably educate the next generation of children.

    God bless.

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