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Congress should provide incentives to states to change school funding formulas that often shortchange districts serving the most low-income and minority students, according to a report released Thursday by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. As poverty becomes increasingly concentrated, the report notes, education funding disparities often leave schools ill-equipped to provide students an adequate education.
The report, Commission Chair Catherine Lhamon said, is “distressingly topical” as public outrage mounts in Baltimore, where schools closed last week after 60 buildings reported heating problems “after years of insufficient funding.” Before the closures, students were attending classes wearing coats, gloves, and hats.
On average, school districts in the U.S. spend roughly $11,000 per pupil each year, with an overwhelming majority of that money derived from local tax dollars, a figure that fluctuates based on wealth. As a result, the report notes, the country’s poorest districts receive an average of $1,200 less per pupil than their wealthiest counterparts. Similarly, districts with the most students of color receive about $2,000 less per pupil than the whitest schools.
Although the federal government provides only a fraction of schools’ total education dollars, the report called on Congress to take “bold action” to ensure local and state governments provide resources equitably.
Read the full article about low income, minority schools by Mark Keierlbeber at The 74.