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Research and common sense tell us that schools need more resources to help the low-income students and students of color who have less outside of school achieve at the same high levels as their more affluent peers. But at the federal, state, and local levels, we actually spend less on the schools serving the highest concentrations of these students.
The poorest states receive fewer of the federal Title I dollars intended for low-income students than the most affluent states. For example, New York receives $2,160 in Title I funds for every student from a low-income family. In Oklahoma, the figure is $1,331, a difference of $829.
In many states, school districts that serve the highest concentrations of low-income and minority students receive less in state and local funding per pupil than districts serving affluent and white students. Nationally, the districts that serve the largest concentrations of students of color receive an average of $1,100 less per student in state and local funds than the districts that do not serve predominately minority students.
What’s more, even in some states that drive money to high-poverty districts, those dollars may not actually get to the highest poverty schools within the district because of differences in how teachers are paid. Simply put, the highest paid teachers generally are not teaching in the schools where they’re most needed.
Closing these funding gaps is critical if we are to live up to our national ideal of providing all children with equal opportunities to become educated citizens. The Education Trust works to highlight these inequities, understand their causes, and work with policymakers and advocates to remedy them once and for all.