NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Report Finds Disparities In Education Aid

August 9, 2002

In most states, school districts teaching the neediest students receive far less money from state and local sources than districts with the fewest children in poverty. So says a report compiled by the Education Trust, a nonpartisan group that represents schools in poor urban districts.

  • The disparity averages just under $1,000 per student.
  • But in New York, which has the greatest disparity of any state, schools teaching the poorest students receive $2,152 per student less from state and local government sources than schools with the fewest needy students.
  • Since 1997, states have reduced the disparities on average by about 15 percent.
  • The study did not include federal funds to education under Title I -- which is generally weighted toward low-income schools.

Nationally, districts with the fewest minority students spent $6,684 in state and local money to educate them, compared with $5,782 in heavily minority schools.

Chester E. Finn, president of the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, says he does not believe money is the most important factor, however. "There are a lot of high-spending poor communities like Newark, which is spending upward of $10,000 per child, and it's overall a disastrous public school system."

Source: Diana Jean Schemo, "Neediest Schools Receive Less Aid, Report Shows," New York Times, August 9, 2002.


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