Eryka English 102 Research Paper Public School Funding: Closing the Education Gap In America we have spent billions of dollars on public school funding in hopes of educating the youth that will one day run the country. Without a solid foundation for the next generation to succeed, America will not be able to continue to improve and move forward. But if the education of our children is such an importance; why are we not giving every public school the right amount of funding to succeed? Just as there is an unequal opportunity in the work force; it also happens in the public school system.
Schools that perform better are given more funding than schools that are not. Public school funding in America should not be determined by the academic achievement of a school, but should all receive the same amount of funding. Although many Americans would agree that the education of their children is a top priority, not many of them would know how funding is distributed throughout the country. It is the general idea that students do better in a well-funded school and that the public schools should all provide the same opportunity for every student to succeed.
But if the belief is all public schools are the same then why are there private schools? And why do many parents decided to move and live in an area that as a great school system. There is no secret that some schools are better than others; it’s the point in which how the schools are able to become “better” than other public schools that’s the problem. Nearly half of the funding for public schools is provided from local taxes in the community the school is located in. Which means that funding for public schools varies across the country between the wealthy and poorer communities in America.
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At both the state and federal level there have been efforts to change the deficit the schools lack compared to others, but the idea has been taken negatively by the wealthy and powerful to choose how their school community functions. Others would argue that more money given to the schools will not improve the education of students; that individual success depends on the student and not the resources that are available to them. Such as Eric Hanushek, an academic reviewer wrote: “Detailed research pning two decades and performance in many different educational settings provides strong onsistent evidence that expenditures are not systematically related to student achievement” (Hanushek 49) This claim has been a factor to the driving force that money can only go so far in a student’s educational life. But it has also been contradicted by academic researchers of public school funding by Rob Greenwald, Larry Hedges, and Richard Laine wrote: “school resources are systematically related to student achievement and that those relations are large [and] educationally important. (Greenwald et al. 384) With such a controversial topic, which one should we believe?
How can we possible know for sure more money given to schools is the best option to improve the education our students receive from the government? And why should we change the way wealthy community schools are run when they are already successful in their academic achievements? How large is the difference in the amount of funding that each public school receives? Public school funding comes from federal state, and local sources, which nearly half of those funds are from local property taxes(National Center for Education Statistics).
Because of the local property taxes from the community this is where the uneven funding for public schools start that makes a difference from the wealthy and impoverished communities. For example in 1998, New Jersey had an annual funding rate per student of $8,801, while Utah had a yearly rate of $3,804 per student(National Center for Education Statistics). Just from these numbers it shows that students from New Jersey where given twice the level of education than those students in Utah. While America funds its schools by the local wealth of the communities, we are the only country that does that.
This type of funding system makes a huge difference in the quality of school building, faculty, equipment, class sizes, and technology resources for a student’s education. In other countries public schools are funded through state taxes and the communities. But what makes other countries educational system different than our own is each school gets the same amount of funding needed to run the school. As Robert Slavin a psychologist focusing on community and education said: “the U. S. is the only nation to fund elementary and secondary education based on local wealth.
Other developed countries either equalize funding or provide extra funding for individuals or groups felt to need it. In the Netherlands, for example, national funding is provided to all schools based on the number of pupils enrolled, but for every guilder allocated to a middle-class Dutch child, 1. 25 guilders are allocated for a lower-class child and 1. 9 guilders for a minority child, exactly the opposite of the situation in the U. S. where lower-class and minority children typically receive less than middle-class white children. Slavin 520)” Poorer and minority students face more difficulties in their life as they are more prone to experience more difficulties in the family. But also these students are also forced to go to school at poorly funded schools. There is often commonly a language boundary that keeps many of the children from having a proper education in a school system. Teachers that are starting out in their educational career are sent to schools that are having a hard time developing their students into academic achievers.
Schools in poorer communities are in need of more experienced teachers, but there is not enough money to recruit a quality teacher that has not already been recruited to teach at a higher paying and more academically achieving job and environment. Teachers are a learning tool that helps the students get to where they can be successful in life. The quality of materials that students have available to them impact the way they learn and also the pace they learn. With little funding students are left to work without dated technology and second hand books.
The effect of outdated technology can be an intimidation for a student to not continue onto college. Many students feel as though schools did not prepare them for an institution that has technology far beyond than what they know how to use. On the other side of the argument, students are given their own choice to either achieve or fail in their education. In other words, success and failure results from individual effort and not a group interaction of the student by the community the student lives in. Even if less funded schools are given more money; more than half of adults say that poverty is a personal problem (Smith).
The community that the school was built into has already set the standard of the school. Depending on the community influences the child is more likely to follow into the footsteps of their parents. If the parents are mechanics and the child follows in their footsteps, does that make them a failure if the student does not go on to be a doctor or an over achiever? The effects of the community on a child can change the way education is viewed in the family and home. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, politician and sociologist, argues that minorities are disadvantaged because of the “social traditions” of the minority communities().
Which means that students have the ability to learn but the social culture in their communities hinder them to take their education seriously unless their family does. This belief that students come from impoverished homes lack the support system to benefit from a quality education drives the idea that there is no need for more funding. Even though there are outrageous numbers that can be easily equaled out for all students. America has focused on the idea to invest in the students that have a more promising future in the long run. Why would we waste money that will become a gamble, and we will not know if the outcome will be positive or not.
The wealthy communities have been able to produce those students that have continued to succeed. The states believe that if they reward those schools that are producing results then it will give the other schools incentive to achieve to retrieve more money for the state. But how can a school be able to climb its way to the top if it’s stuck in the bottom, working with the resources that it already has. The biggest survey done on the relationship of the amount of funding and the impact of students’ education was called The Coleman Report.
The report was a study that randomly selected thousands of students from all over the nation and tried to connect the issue of money and education. From the report it was linked that students’ home background and peer groups were a major part of achievement, but the quality of the school had little to no impact on their education. Which researchers wrote: “Schools bring little influence to near on a child’s achievement that is independent of his background and general social context” (Cain 325). Schools that are also well funded are able to get familiarized with the current technology that is popular in today’s life.
From the advantage of having the practice with technology has already put themselves ahead of others who have not gotten the chance to learn that kind of technology. Students who are not able to access technology are behind to those who have and will lack in their technology skills in college. Being updated with the latest technology helps students want to continue in into college to learn more new things. The quality of materials that students have available to them impact the way they learn and also the pace they learn. With little funding students are left to work without dated technology and second hand books.
The effect of outdated technology can be an intimidation for a student to not continue onto college. Many students feel as though schools did not prepare them for an institution that has technology far beyond than what they know how to use. Without confidence in the education that they have received, students are hesitant to ask for help and get the help that they need to succeed into a higher education level. If the materials the schools are using are outdated and not taken care of, then the students will also return the same respect to the books in the condition that they are in.
Schools no longer become a place for opportunity, but a place where students are required to attend with old material, that will not get any better as the years go on. The quality of the materials the students are given the more respect and effort they will give to the course material. If American is able to provide the entire students with the equal opportunity to succeed then there would be more achievements in the nation, but also a higher achievement in the country. There needs to be more awareness of the effect that funding in public schools has on the students.
Statistics in the nation vary from state to state, but with the same amount of material for each student. Most Americans say they support equal funding for public schools, but they are not willing to take the necessary steps to improve and provide equal funding for all the schools across the country. Some reasons why wealthy people and communities do not to anything about unequal funding is because of: not even admitting that there is a funding difference, to keep personal taxes low, and the thought that poverty is brought onto the person instead of trying to better themselves through their education.
It is better to keep the money going to the schools that continue to have academic success with their students. Studies indicate that the level of student advantage within the home or community matters a lot to the outcome of the student’s education. But also that funding will help the student be more educated and motivated to go onto college. Greater one on one time with a teacher will help the student learn more material. Two main aspects that have been tied to higher levels of student achievement: stronger teacher qualifications, and smaller class sizes in the early grades.
Getting the bases of an early education but also a quality education helps the student in the long run to adapt to the education system in a positive environment. The achievements of disadvantaged students in poorer communities are more likely to suffer America’s public school system because of two main reasons: those students are more likely to attend poorly funded schools, and they are more likely to be hurt by lack of academic resources when there is not enough funding that the school needs.
Legal and political efforts to improve funding have not been very successful at the federal level, but a lot of activity has been present in the state courts and there is a realization to increase school funding. The future effects have increased in state funds for poorly-funded districts while leaving funding for rich, suburban districts up to the communities to continue with their educational support. We have concluded that well-funded schools are able to obtain higher educated teachers that continue to increase the school progression.
In addition to better funded schools, schools are able to reduce the class sizes which will improve the students learning to be more focused and engaged in the classroom. Which is a huge advantage because a main problem in low funded schools, is that there is so many students in one room that a single teacher is not able to guarantee that that material is being understood from every student. Resources Cain, G. G. & Watts, H. W. (1970). Problems in making policy inferences from the Coleman Report. American Sociological Review, 35(2), 228-242.
Hanushek, E. A. (1989). The impact of differential expenditures on school performance. Educational Researcher, 18(4), 45-65. Kluegel, J. R. & Smith, E. R. (1986). Beliefs about inequality: Americans' view of what is and what ought to be. New York: Aldine de Gruyter. Greenwald, R. , Hedges, L. V. , ; Laine, R. D. (1996). The effect of school resources on school achievement. Review of Educational Research, 66(3), 361-396. Moynihan, D. P. (Ed. ). (1969). On understanding poverty: Perspectives from the social sciences.
New York: Basic Books. National Center for Education Statistics (2000a). Common core of data for school years 1993/94 through 1997/98 (a compact disk). Washington, DC: Office of Educational Research and Improvement, U. S. Department of Education. National Center for Education Statistics (2000b). The condition of education 2000. Washington, DC: Office of Educational Research and Improvement, U. S. Department of Education. Slavin, R. E. (1999). How can funding equity ensure enhanced achievement? Journal of Education
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