Thursday, May 23, 2013
Although I am quite sure I did not spur her, Cynthia Brown followed up my post on the U.S. Department of Education's Equity and Excellence Commission report with her own article in edweek. She chides the report for pointing out problems in school finance, but offering no solutions. Thus, in her article she offers three relatively simple, but bold, proposals. First, she proposes eliminating the four federal funding formulas currently in place and replacing them with "one formula that better targets schools with high concentrations of students in poverty. This honors the law's intent of providing additional education resources for children with the greatest educational needs." Second, she proposes closing inequities within individual school districts, most notably by no longer exempting teacher salaries from equity calculations, which allows all of the highest paid and most qualified teachers to teach at the same schools. Third and most boldly, she argues that "States should adopt a state-based system of school financing—one in which states provide all nonfederal resources for education, and districts no longer have the power to raise funds from local property taxes." As my scholarship in the past has suggests (see here), I believe Brown is on the right track. But I would reiterate my concern from yesterday that we not ignore segregation, as it is intertwined. Moreover, if we are too agressive in attempting to offset the costs of concentrated poverty, we could financially incentivize further segregation and decentivize integration.