Giving Compass' Take:

• Max Marchitello makes the case for improving equity in the United States by doubling Title I funding for low-income schools, which he argues will begin to bring disadvantaged students closer to a level playing field. 

• What is the most cost-effective use of school funding to improve student outcomes? How can philanthropy best support equitable school funding? 

• Find out how much it would cost to get every student up to average.

In spite of its great wealth, the United States has the shameful distinction of being one of only a small handful of countries that spends less on the education of poor students than it does on affluent ones.

This inequity results from funding decisions by 50 state legislatures and 13,000 school boards. And since the Great Recession, state and local education funding has decreased or remained flat — which some argue has contributed to stagnant academic performance.

To combat school funding disparities, the federal government has for more than 60 years provided additional resources to schools serving low-income students through Title I. Last year’s Title I funding totaled $16 billion, and the recent budget bill included a small increase. Although this modest boost was long overdue, it is nowhere near enough; over time, funding for Title I hasn’t even kept up with inflation or enrollment growth, let alone given states sufficient resources to help provide low-income students with an equitable education.

To get serious about education equity, Congress should, at least as a starting point, double Title I funding.

It’s true that Title I hasn’t dramatically changed education as we might have hoped, and doubling Title I would not be a panacea. Still, for a little more than a 1 percent increase in the total federal budget passed last month, the government could dramatically increase the resources going to high-poverty schools.

A growing body of research shows that money matters. A 2016 study of state school finance reforms in 27 states that were geared toward increasing resources in high-poverty schools found that overall, boosting funding resulted in improved student achievement.

Read the full article about Title I funding for low-income schools by Max Marchitello at The 74.