Students in poverty continue to receive less funding than their more affluent peers. High-poverty school districts in only four states—Minnesota, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Vermont—receive more local funds per pupil than more affluent districts. State funding formulas generally compensate for regressive local funding.
In 23 states, high-poverty and affluent districts receive about the same amount per pupil in state and local dollars. In four states, the highest-poverty districts receive significantly less per pupil in state and local funding than more affluent districts. And in Illinois, high-poverty districts received 22 percent less per pupil in state and local funds than more affluent districts.
Times have changed dramatically since the Rodriguez decision, and there is deepening consensus that federal government has an important role in supporting the education of students with the greatest needs. The federal investment in education increases the share of funding allocated to high-poverty districts. These differences are so stark that students in certain states only receive a fraction of funds that students in other states receive.
While some states have made progress in addressing disparities within states, unequal access still exists within states. At the same time, inequities are greatest across states lines, as per-pupil spending across states varies dramatically. Although school finance advocates and policymakers often compare spending between the poorest and wealthiest districts within a state, the differences in district-level spending across states are far starker.
These extreme spending inequities have an impact, and a large body of research suggests that money does matter in education. When school districts spend money wisely, they have better outcomes, including higher test scores, increased graduation rates, and other improved indicators of student achievement.
This has clear implications for the public school system, as students who do not get their fair share of dollars do not get an equal chance to compete with their more advantaged peers. For instance, according to a recent National Bureau of Economic Research NBER study, state fiscal reforms have had a positive impact on student outcomes—particularly among low-income students.
In fact, the study found that spending increases improved high school graduation rates among low-income students and increased their adulthood earnings by 10 percent. Note that, when it comes to policy approaches, foundation plans are most similar to an adequacy framework—a point explored in greater detail below. Another recent NBER study confirmed this idea that fiscal reforms in adequacy cases have led to more progressive funding systems and increased student outcomes.
These reforms also contributed to student gains in reading and mathematics, with the largest increases among low-income students.
Relatedly, beginning in , a decline in public spending on education has negatively affected student outcomes. During the Great Recession, state and district funding for public education declined dramatically. Kirabo Jackson, a professor of human development and social policy at Northwestern University, asserts that the decline in National Assessment of Educational Progress NAEP scores in and is tied to the decline in education spending following the Great Recession. Inequities go beyond money. Core services, which make a huge difference in instructional quality and student performance, are systematically unavailable to students in low-income schools relative to students in higher-income schools.
Put simply, school funding debates must go beyond the raw numbers and evaluate whether students have equitable access to the resources needed for success, including early childhood education, quality teachers, and exposure to challenging curriculum. Early childhood education is a critical tool to level the playing field for students in poverty who generally start school academically behind their more affluent peers.
For example, some studies suggest that, compared with their higher-income peers, low-income students start school with a smaller vocabulary. Yet students in poverty are less likely to attend preschool programs. The effectiveness and experience of teachers also have a pronounced impact on instructional quality. No other in-school factor has as significant an impact on student achievement as the teacher at the front of the room.
In Washington, D. Higher-poverty schools also have fewer experienced teachers and greater teacher turnover. Rigorous curriculum can significantly increase academic outcomes and prepare students for college and the workforce. Fifty-three percent of low-income students graduate high school without college or career preparatory coursework, compared with 44 percent of their affluent peers.
In some states, such as New York, the issue is particularly pressing. Studies by the federal government demonstrate that the unequal access to rigorous courses is a national problem. Data from the school year show that high schools with higher percentages of black and Latino students offer math and science courses at a lower rate relative to all high schools. The difference is greatest in terms of access to advanced mathematics, calculus, and physics.
A study conducted in New York City examined the performance of students who previously struggled academically but were incorrectly placed on an instructional track intended for students with greater mathematical ability, finding that they performed well when placed in a rigorous instructional setting that held them to higher expectations.
However, when placed on a high-achieving track, that same student had a 91 percent chance of completing two such classes. Furthermore, an analysis of the cost of different interventions found that transitioning to higher-quality curriculum provides a higher return on investment than many other reforms—for example, almost 40 times the return of class-size reduction.
Litigation has heightened awareness of the importance of fiscal equity in education and spurred necessary change in states across the country. The U. Rodriguez by arguing that education was not a guaranteed federal right. Some litigants continue to attempt to overturn Rodriguez in order to establish a federal right to education, but until then, many advocates turn to the states. Numerous state courts have reinforced meaningful provisions in state constitutions and required legislative action to improve educational opportunities for all students.
Advocates in various states have taken different approaches to advance equity—some with success and some with unintended outcomes. The following section describes the decision in Rodriguez and examines examples of the different approaches that advocates have used to advance school finance reform within states.
The authors highlight some of the unintended outcomes, as well as the most positive aspects of the remedies, in order to inform a new framework for a potential federal right moving forward. In Rodriguez, the plaintiffs argued that education was a fundamental interest under the U. Constitution because of its vital importance to both the right to vote and freedom of expression. In other words, the plaintiffs contended that education was a constitutional right because a certain level of education is necessary for the proper exercise of these rights.
Yet the Supreme Court decided that public education was not guaranteed by the federal Constitution. Instead, it found that education was an important but voluntary service provided by the government, arguing that while the Constitution does guarantee its citizens the right to vote, it does not guarantee that individuals should be able to exercise this right to the best of their abilities or at their highest potential. The Supreme Court also found that the Texas approach was constitutional because it provided the bare minimum necessary. Brennan Jr.
Marshall argued that the burden of proof fell on the state to show that funding disparities did not grossly affect the quality of education that students received. The debate around the federal right to education is ongoing. In recent years, litigants in multiple states have filed suits to overturn Rodriguez. Similarly, in , a group of parents and students filed a federal lawsuit in Connecticut arguing that state laws systematically prevent some students from receiving minimally acceptable education.
Two of the earliest and best-known instances of state equity cases occurred during the mids. Both cases resulted in victories: one in California Serrano v.
Priest and the other in New Jersey Robinson v. Following these successes, equity cases were brought in virtually every state. As a result, resource differences among districts in some states have declined. However, in other states, equity cases have had a negative impact on total spending due to the narrow focus on ensuring parity among districts within a state.
In California, the Serrano cases provide the most notorious example. The frame of equalized funding pitted high- and low-wealth districts against each other. Michael at cmichael wcusd. March Periods A Schedule.
Weekly School Bulletin March 2, We are on a B week and 9th grade Lunch Lab continues on Monday. Graduation meeting is on Monday at 4 pm. Wednesday, we are hosting an Edgewood Tour at am and parent information night for high school students interested in the Cheer and Song Program in the media center. Weekly School Bulletin February 23, We are on a B week and 9th grade Lunch Lab begins on Monday.
School Site Council is on Tuesday at pm. Financial Aid application is due Saturday. Also, have students take advantage of our tutoring, writing center and study hall to assist with work completion. Inter-Club meeting lunch in F Weekly School Bulletin February 16, There is no school on Monday and we are on an A week. Lastly, on Monday, February 25 we are beginning a lunch lab in the media center every Monday through Thursdays to assist students with work completion for any 9th graders needing assistance..
All 9th graders who have incomplete assignments the week prior will automatically be assigned. Please contact students counselor for additional information. Weekly School Bulletin February 9, Tuesday is middle school PTSA meeting at 4 pm. Wednesday, we are on a minimum day schedule, students will be released at pm. Book Fair, meetings and food trucks begin at pm. All middle school students will be provided a voucher for 2 free books to be redeemed at Open House.
Thursday is high school PTSA meeting at pm. Lastly, have students take advantage of our tutoring, writing center and study hall to assist with work completion. Edgewood Middle School Spelling Bee. Nutrition Open House Events. School Loop Training. World Language Performances.
Weekly School Bulletin February 2, We are on an A week and students will be participating on the practice state testing. Attendance is vital. Graduation Meeting is on Monday at 4 pm. Wednesday is our Academic Awards Assembly pm for middle school and pm for high school families.