Education Trust has released another BIG statement about an issue that I would argue is a minor distraction – at best. At worst, this issue becomes a major policy distraction, diverting attention from far more significant equity concerns.
Education Trust’s summary bullet points for their new report are as follows:
Federal law permits hidden funding gaps to persist between high-poverty schools and more affluent counterparts within the same district. These gaps occur partly because teachers in wealthier schools tend to earn more than their peers in high-poverty schools and because of pressure to “equalize” other resources across schools.By closing loopholes in the comparability provisions of Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, Congress could promote funding equity within school district budgets.
The report is grounded in this premise:
Many states have made progress in closing the funding gaps between affluent school districts and those serving the highest concentrations of low-income children. But a hidden funding gap between high-poverty and low-poverty schools persists between schools within the same district. District budgeting policies frequently favor schools with the fewest low-income students. This undercuts the aim of Title I and robs poor children of funds intended to help them.
The layers of problems with this premise and Education Trust’s major conclusions are downright baffling. I am not suggesting that we should not be concerned with inequities that might occur between schools within districts, inappropriately as a function of district budgeting practices or teacher assignment practices. These are a concern. They are just not the major equity concern du jour. And further, while Title I funding might be leveraged better to correct this concern, the role of Title I funding in improving equity overall across states is minimal.
Read the whole thing. Also, beyond all the above problems, I have trouble imagining how this would be implemented in the real world of politics. Are you really going to move the best teachers out of high income neighborhood schools and into low-income, low-performing schools? Would the author's of the study be ok doing that with the teachers in the school their child attends?