Background amp analysis

School Finance

Federal, State, and Local K-12 School Finance Overview

America spends over $550 billion a year on public elementary and secondary education in the United States. On average, school districts spend $10,658 for each individual student, although per pupil expenditures vary greatly among states, school districts and individual schools. Spending also differs among school districts in the same state and among schools within the same district.

All three levels of government – federal, state, and local – contribute to education funding. States and local governments typically provide about 44 percent each of all elementary and secondary education funding. The federal government contributes about 12 percent of all direct expenditures.

The share of education funding that federal, state, and local governments provide has changed significantly over time. Historically, elementary and secondary education was funded largely by local governments and states played only a supporting role. Today, states play a large and increasing role in education funding, a trend that emerged in the 1970’s when state spending first overtook education spending by local governments. Federal funding has always been minor with respect to total direct elementary and secondary education spending, though the federal government’s role in education funding has slowly increased, along with the role of the federal government in education policy.

Federal Funding

The federal government spends nearly $79 billion annually on primary and secondary education programs. Much of the funding is discretionary, meaning it is set annually by Congress through the appropriations process. Funds flow mainly through the Department of Education although other federal agencies administer some funding for education related activities.

Through the U.S. Department of Education, the federal government provides nearly $79 billion a year on primary and secondary education programs. The two biggest programs are No Child Left Behind Title I Grants to local school districts ($14.4 billion in fiscal year 2014) and IDEA Special Education State Grants ($11.5 billion in fiscal year 2014).

Other federal agencies that administer funding for primary and secondary education include the Department of Agriculture ($20.8 in fiscal year 2014), which coordinates the funding for the child nutrition programs, the Department of Health and Human Services ($9.3 million in fiscal year 2014), which supports the Head Start program, and the Department of Labor ($5.7 billion in fiscal year 2014), which supports Youth Employment and Training Activities and Youthbuild.

Federal education funding is distributed to states and school districts though a variety of formula and competitive grant programs. While the federal government contributes about 12 percent of direct funding for elementary and secondary schools nationally, the amount varies considerably from state to state. In some states the federal share of total elementary and secondary education spending is less than 5 percent of the total, while in other states it is higher than 16 percent.

As an overall share of the total federal budget, federal spending on elementary and secondary education programs through the U.S. Department of Education account for less than 3 percent of the total federal budget. In the annual appropriations process, elementary and secondary education funding accounts for about 5 percent of discretionary funding across all federal programs.

State Funding

States rely primarily on income and sales taxes to fund elementary and secondary education. State legislatures generally determine the level and distribution of funding, following different rules and procedures depending on the state.

State funding for elementary and secondary education is generally distributed by formula. Many states use funding formulas that provide funding based on the number of pupils in a district. Some formulas are weighted based on different factors such as the number of students with disabilities, the number of students living in poverty, or the number of students for whom English is a second language. The allocation for students with different types of needs can vary significantly depending on the funding formula. Additionally, in some states the formula is designed so that higher poverty school districts with less access to local funding receive additional assistance.

The share of total education funding provided by the state government differs from state to state. In some states the state share is as high as 82 percent, while in others it is as low as 29 percent. States that rely heavily on local property taxes instead of state funding to fund elementary and secondary education, often have larger funding disparities between school districts in the state.

Local Funding

Property taxes support most of the funding that local government provides for education. Local governments collect taxes from residential and commercial properties as a direct revenue source for the local school district. Wealthier, property-rich localities have the ability to collect more in property taxes. Having more resources to draw from enables the district to keep tax rates low while still providing adequate funding to their local school districts. Poorer communities with less of a property tax base may have higher tax rates, but still raise less funding to support the local school district. This can often mean that children that live in low-income communities with the highest needs go to schools with the least resources, the least qualified teachers, and substandard school facilities.

Funding Disparities

There are large disparities in the amount of funding that schools receive which create differences in educational opportunity. The funding disparities can be broken down into three main areas:

1. Interstate disparity – School finance inequities among different states

There are significant differences in education funding across different states. For example, in the 2009-10 school year, New Jersey spent $17,379 per student while Utah spent only $6,452 per student. Even when adjusted for regional variations in costs, large disparities between states exist. The disparity is caused by a number of factors, including: (1) capacity – how well off a state is based on their economy and resources, and (2) effort – the states willingness to provide funding for education. Wealthier states with a high fiscal capacity, (typically those in the Northeast), have more funding available to spend on education than states with more limited resources (typically those in the South and the West). Additionally, some states spend more of their total available funding on education. Montana, for example, is a low fiscal capacity, but high fiscal effort state.

2. Intrastate disparity – School finance inequities within a particular state

There are large differences in funding among school districts within the same state. Some districts spend significantly more on education than other school districts even if they are within the same state, and sometimes only a few miles apart. For example, in Illinois, the New Trier Township High School District spent $21,465 per student in 2009-10 while the Farmington Central Community Unit School District spent only $7,259 per student. When school districts rely on the local property tax as their primary source of funding, schools located in wealthier districts have more resources to draw from than schools in low-income communities.

The federal government established a standardized measure, called the “equity factor” as part of Title I, Part A of the No Child Left Behind Act that measures school finance equity among districts in a state. Click here for a detailed graph that shows how states rank in school finance equity based on the federal standard.

3. Intradistrict disparity – School finance inequities among schools within the same district

Even within a single school district, the amount of funding that individual schools receive can differ significantly. For small school districts this is not usually an issue, but in large school districts that operate many schools, intradistrict disparities can be significant. Until recently, resource allocation at the individual school level has been largely ignored, partly due to a lack of transparency and understanding of the budget process at the local level. Recent research suggests that resources are not evenly distributed among schools in a school district and that some schools, often those that serve students with greater needs, receive less resources. A large portion of the disparity is related to the allocation of teachers. Higher-paid, more experienced teachers tend to be congregated in lower-needs schools, while less-experienced teachers end up in high-needs schools. In many school districts disparity in teacher pay does not factor in the way in which funding distributions are calculated. A handful of notable school districts, however, including New York City, are recalculating the way they allocate funding to schools.

The Role of the Courts in School Finance

In 1973, the United States Supreme Court, in a case called Rodriguez v. San Antonio Independent School District, 411 U.S. 1 (1973), held that education is not a fundamental right under the federal constitution and that wealth is not a suspect classification. However, many states have clauses that provide for education in the state constitution. In most of the 50 states there has been some type of lawsuit or legal action to address education funding disparities.

Early school funding litigation efforts generally focused on education equity, which sought the same level of per-pupil funding for every student in the state. Since the late 1980’s, litigation has focused more on education adequacy, which seeks funding levels necessary to ensure that every student receives an adequate education. Defining what constitutes an adequate education as well as what resources are necessary to provide that level of education, have been central questions in the litigation. “Costing-out studies”, which have been done in over 35 states, are one method which has been used to help calculate the amount of funds needed to provide students with an education that meets state standards. From 1989 to 2010, plaintiffs won 26 education adequacy cases and there a number of cases still pending in courts across the nation.

Published Apr 21 2014 22:59

7 must read books on education brain pickings

Brain Pickings

7 Must-Read Books on Education

What the free speech movement of the 1960s has to do with digital learning and The Beatles.

Education is something we’re deeply passionate about, but the fact remains that today’s dominant formal education model is a broken system based on antiquated paradigms. While much has been said and written about education reform over the past couple of years, the issue and the public discourse around it are hardly new phenomena. Today, we round up the most compelling and visionary reading on reinventing education from the past century.

Earlier this year, we featured a fantastic Bill Moyers archival interview with Isaac Asimov. in which the iconic author and futurist echoes some of own beliefs in the power of curiosity-driven, self-directed learning and the need to implement creativity in education from the onset. These insights, and more, are eloquently captured in The Roving Mind — a compelling collection of 62 edifying essays on everything from creationism to censorship to the philosophy of science, in which Asimov predicts with astounding accuracy not only the technological developments of the future but also the complex public debates they have sparked, from cloning to stem-cell research. While intended to encourage young people to pursue a career in science, the book is both a homage to the inquisitive mind and a living manifesto for freedom of thought across all disciplines as the backbone of education and creativity.

Once we have computer outlets in every home, each of them hooked up to enormous libraries where anyone can ask any question and be given answers, be given reference materials, be something you’re interested in knowing, from an early age, however silly it might seem to someone else… that’s what YOU are interested in, and you can ask, and you can find out, and you can do it in your own home, at your own speed, in your own direction, in your own time… Then, everyone would enjoy learning. Nowadays, what people call learning is forced on you, and everyone is forced to learn the same thing on the same day at the same speed in class, and everyone is different.”

Isaac Asimov

SIR KEN ROBINSON: THE ELEMENT

Sir Ken Robinson’s blockbuster TED talks have become modern cerebral folklore, and for good reason — his insights on education and creativity, neatly delivered in punchy, soundbite-ready packages, are today’s loudest, most succinct rally cry for a much-needed revolution. That’s precisely what he does in The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything — a passionate celebration for the wide spectrum of human ability and creativity, which current educational models consistently limit and try to fit into predetermined boxes, extricating rather than encouraging young people’s unique abilities and talents. From Paul McCartney to Paulo Coehlo to Vidal Sassoon, Robinson demonstrates the power of properly harnessing innate creativity through fascinating case studies and personal stories, and offers a powerful vision for bringing this respect for natural talent to the world of education.

We have a system of education that is modeled on the interest of industrialism and in the image of it. School are still pretty much organized on factory lines — ringing bells, separate facilities, specialized into separate subjects. We still educate children by batches. Why do we do that?”

For an excellent complement to The Element . we highly recommend Robinson’s prior book, Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative — re-released last month, it offers a thoughtful and provocative analysis of the disconnect between the kinds of “intelligence” measured and encouraged in schools and the kinds of creativity most essential to our society moving forward.

A NEW CULTURE OF LEARNING

In A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change . Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown approach education with equal parts insight, imagination and optimism to deliver a refreshing vision for the relationship between education and technology, where the two progress synchronously and fluidly — a vision that falls somewhere between Sir Ken Robinson’s call for creativity in education paradigms and Clay Shirky’s notion of “cognitive surplus.” The book touches on a number of critical issues in digital learning, from the role of remix culture to the importance of tinkering and experimentation in creating, not merely acquiring, knowledge. Central to its premise is the idea that play is critical to understanding learning — a notion we stand strongly behind.

We’re stuck in a mode where we’re using old systems of understanding learning to try to understand these new forms, and part of the disjoint means that we’re missing some really important and valuable data.”

Douglas Thomas

To understand where formal education is going, we must first understand where it came from and what role it served in the cultural context of society. Clark Kerr’s The Uses of the University . originally published in 1963 and based on his Godkin Lectures at Harvard, is arguably the most important work on the purpose of educational institutions ever published. Kerr, an economist with a historian’s sensibility, coins the term “multiversity” at the dawn of the free speech movement of the 60s and examines the role of the university as a living organism of sociopolitical thought and activity. The book, as US Berkley’s Hanna Halborn Gray eloquently puts it. “describes the illnesses to which this organism might be prone, together with diagnoses and prognoses that might prove useful.”

What the railroads did for the second half of the last century and the automobile for the first half of this century may be done for the second half of this century by the knowledge industry: And that is, to serve as the focal point for national growth.”

As big proponents of self-directed learning — the empowering pursuit of knowledge flowing organically from one’s innate curiosity and intellectual hunger — we’re all over Anya Kamenetz’s DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education — an ambitious, albeit slightly alarmist, look at the American higher education system and the flawed economic models at its foundation. Passionately argued and rigorously researched, the book exposes the greatest challenges to education reform and offers a glimmer of hope for new, more open and accessible models of education that transcend the institutional “credential mill” of traditional academia.

The promise of free or marginal-cost open-source content, techno-hybridization, unbundling of educational functions, and learner-centered educational experiences and paths is too powerful to ignore. These changes are inevitable. They are happening now. [. ] However, these changes will not automatically become pervasive.”

Anya Kamenetz

KARL WEBER: WAITING FOR SUPERMAN

Waiting for “SUPERMAN”: How We Can Save America’s Failing Public Schools is the companion text to the excellent documentary of the same name, which we featured last year. It explores the human side of education statistics, following five exceptionally talented kids through a system that inhibits rather than inspires academic and intellectual growth. Unlike other fault-finders who fail to propose solutions, the narrative both mercilessly calls out a system full of “academic sinkholes” and “drop-out factories,” and reminds us of the transformational power that great educators have to ushers in true education reform. More than a mere observational argument, the book offers a blueprint for civic engagement with specific ways for parents, students, educators and businesspeople to get involved in driving the movement for quality education, including more than 30 pages’ worth of websites and organizations working towards this shared aspiration.

In America right now, a kid drops out of high school every 26 seconds. These drop-outs are 8 times more likely to go to prison, 50% less likely to vote, more likely to need social welfare assistance, not eligible for 90% of jobs, are being paid 40 cents to the dollar of earned by a college graduate, and continuing the cycle of poverty.”

Sociologist Howard Gardner, one of our all-time favorite nonfiction authors, is best-known as the father of the theory of multiple intelligences — a radical rethinking of human intellectual and creative ability, arguing that traditional psychometrics like IQ tests or the SAT fail to measure the full scope and diversity of intelligence. In Five Minds for the Future . Gardner’s highly anticipated follow-up published more than two decades later, the author presents a visionary and thought-provoking blueprint for mental abilities that will be most critical in the 21st century as we grapple with issues of information overload and creative entrepreneurship. Perhaps most notable, however, is Gardner’s insistence that the five minds he identifies — disciplined, synthesizing, creating, respectful and ethical — aren’t genetically encoded givens but, rather, abilities we actively develop and cultivate with time, thought and effort.

The synthesizing mind takes information from disparate sources, understands and evaluates that information objectively, and puts it together in ways that make sense to the synthesizer and also to other persons. Valuable in the past, the capacity to synthesize becomes ever more crucial as information continues to mount at dizzying rates.”

Howard Gardner

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Early childhood education degree kendall college school of education

Changes are happening – Less Required Field Work Hours

At Kendall, we care about your future. That is why we have improved our Early Childhood Education bachelor’s degree non-licensure track to better align with your future career goals.

We understand that it can be difficult to balance your family, a job and school all at the same time – that is why we have developed an even more convenient pathway for you to earn your degree while still maintaining the other important aspects of your life.

Kendall’s new non-licensure B.A. in Early Childhood Education degree program highlights include:

  • Less required field work hours
  • Flexible online learning platform
  • Relevant and industry-specific concentrations of study
  • New core courses

In addition to this non-licensure track, we also offer an Early Childhood Education bachelor’s degree with Illinois Teacher Licensure preparation .

For more information about our B.A. in Early Childhood Education degree program, call 800-569-8179.

NOTICE

The Illinois State Board of Education is moving from a Certification structure to a Licensure structure effective June 30, 2013. For more information call the Illinois State Board of Education, Division of Educator Certification, at 217-557-6763.

It education and training news help and research computerweekly com

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