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New Report Follows the Money


Back in December, I and other bloggers entered an extended dialogue about whether NCLB's Title I does an adequate job targeting money to schools with low-income students.

In that series of blog posts, Kevin Carey lauded the way NCLB shifted Title I money toward schools in the poorest communities, though he acknowledged that the formula isn't perfect. Now, he is a co-author of a new report examining school finance across federal, state, and local levels. The "basic flaw" at every level is that "money follows money," Carey writes in a post I'm sure he didn't waste half a day writing.

Title I rewards states that are capable of spending extravagantly on schools at the expense of those that can't, the report says. "The problem with this approach is that interstate differences in per-student spending are primarily a function of differences in wealth, not cost," Carey writes with Marguerite Roza of the University of Washington.

PROGRAMING NOTE: For parents or educators, spring is the most hectic time of year. The calendar is loaded with plays, concerts, parties, state tests—I could go on. In the midst of last year's May madness, I promised myself I would burn a week from my considerable vacation bank to survive in 2008. Next week is the week. I'll be home ferrying my kids to a variety of places and taking care of personal business (anyone want to help me lay insulation in my attic?)

If news develops—and I have a hunch it will—Alyson Klein or someone else from the Education Week staff will update this blog. My regular posts will resume after Memorial Day.

This is as good of a time as any for you to sign up for e-mail updates of this blog. Just enter your e-mail address in the box on the right and click on "Subscribe."


I hope the investigation starts with the top administrators who are paid to "divvy" up the pot of gold amongst the "poor" schools. We have a Federal Programs director who gets $95,000 and her assistant, the parent involvement director receives $55,000.
The part that really is suspicious is that we have children who are at risk in Houston County where the data clearly shows a loss of reading skills over the summer, but the Title I director would rather carry the hundreds of thousands of dollars over to the next year rather than putting it to use for a summer reading program.
Also, there is no doubt that the federal government has created what I call an education welfare system. If there is no industry in certain areas to increase taxes to enhance the education process, it does not matter because the federal government gives us money for education if we produce poor kids. The more poor kids we have, the more Title I funds we get. Am I missing something here?

Yes, the truth is that many of the funds are appropriated to schools and districts that serve poor children. However, it is a matter of accountability and I'm not taling about the accountability where data collection and number crunching are sent in quarterly reports as the state mandates. I have witnessed a school district create it's own SES programs utilizing the same teachers and often times the same curriculum to keep the funds circulating within their own school? Is that an ethical practice or a scheme to make claim to funds that should be appropriated elsewhere?

The purpose of NCLB is to expose children to pre-existing services that show significant evidence of student achievement and success by adding more resources to the child’s educational experiences in addition to their daily curriculum. Schools on the local level need to balance the budget where they are able to allot funds for after-school enrichment activities.

There has been too much “double-dipping” happening and the children only suffer in the end. Are schools really advertising free tutoring services? Perhaps many are, but we must ask the parents who need the services the most. Are they able to define in layman’s terms about Title I and NCLB? The real question is who is paying close enough attention to where the money is being spent.

Deandra--I believe Chicago got caught and slapped on the hand for providing its own SES. I am not sure how that totally played out when all the dust had settled. My own district pressed their home team advantage by refusing to allow outside SES providers access to building space after school. Meanwhile the teachers union set up an SES tutoring service "outside" the district--and were granted permission to provide their services in the buildings. The district still has to inform parents about all of the available services--but there is nothing to effectively stop them from presenting theirs in the best light.

I don't have a problem paying a parent involvement director, if their job is actually to involve parents. Many have a vision of "fixing parents" to be involved in ways that the school district prefers (ie fundraising and cheerleading, as opposed to stakeholder advice). Not only is this pretty ineffective (do you know anyone who wants to show up and listen to somebody else's idea of what you should be doing?), but it also violates the intent of the law in requiring parent involvement.

Comments are now closed for this post.


Recent Comments

  • Margo/Mom: Deandra--I believe Chicago got caught and slapped on the hand read more
  • Deandra Teague: Yes, the truth is that many of the funds are read more
  • Kathy: I hope the investigation starts with the top administrators who read more



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