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.