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Funding for High-Poverty Districts Falls Short, New Reports Contend

Only 15 states provide extra funding for students in high-poverty schools, according to a joint report released today by the Education Law Center and the Leadership Conference Education Fund.

The report, "Cheating Our Future: How Decades of Disinvestment by States Jeopardizes Equal Educational Opportunity," argues that deficits in school funding and resources have shortchanged students in many of the nation's urban and rural districts.

The study paints a "depressing picture of this disinvestment," said Wade Henderson, president of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and the Leadership Conference Education Fund.

Part of the study focuses on Philadelphia, revealing how budget cuts have sparked school closures, thousands of staff layoffs, and deprived special education students of federally mandated services.

The report also details court fights in Mississippi and South Carolina that reveal the "glaring inadequacies" that can exist in funding from school to school and district to district

The Education Law Center also released its fourth annual national report card on school funding levels and fairness for each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The Newark, N.J.-based organization advocates for equal opportunities and funding for public school students.

The odds of students from low-income families being isolated in high-poverty school districts are increasing, the report card shows. The study also found that few states that cut education funding during the recession have increased it since the economic recovery.

In a statement released with the report, Education Law Center executive director David Sciarra said it is proof that "too many students essentially must attend school in educational ghettos."

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