Many low-income schools receive less than their fair share of state and local funding, according to a new report released on November 30 by the U.S. Department of Education. The report, Comparability of State and Local Expenditures Among Schools Within Districts: A Report From the Study of School-Level Expenditures, finds that more than 40 percent of schools receiving federal Title I money to serve disadvantaged students spent less state and local money on teachers and other personnel than schools that do not receive Title I money at the same grade level in the same district.
“Educators across the country understand that low-income students need extra support and resources to succeed, but in far too many places, policies for assigning teachers and allocating resources are perpetuating the problem rather than solving it,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “The good news in this report is that it is feasible for districts to address this problem and it will have a significant impact on educational opportunities for our nation’s poorest children.”
Complicating the challenges facing high-poverty high schools is the fact that only 10 percent of the approximately $14 billion Title I program supports high school students even though they account for nearly 25 percent of the nation’s low-income students. This is a key finding in “Overlooked and Underpaid: How Title I Shortchanges High Schools and What ESEA Can Do About It,” a recent brief from the Alliance for Excellent Education. The brief also finds that nearly 1,300 high schools—in which 50 percent or more of their students come from low-income families—are not eligible for Title I funds.
“Whether you’re talking about federal, state, or local funding, it is clear that low-income students are not getting the resources they need to graduate from high school prepared for college and success in life,” said Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia. “I applaud Secretary of Education Arne Duncan for providing concrete numbers behind what we have long known to be true about the insufficient support received by low-income students. As Congress works to rewrite No Child Left Behind, it must strengthen Title I to better meet the needs of the nation’s low-income students, including those in high school.”
In conducting the study, researchers at the U.S. Department of Education analyzed new school-level spending and teacher salary data submitted by more than 13,000 school districts as required by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. This school-level expenditure data was made available for the first time in this data collection.
Comparability of State and Local Expenditures Among Schools Within Districts is available here
The Alliance’s policy brief, “Overlooked and Underpaid,” which includes a state-by-state breakdown of the number of high-poverty high schools that are not Title I eligible in each state, is available here.