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Opinion: School Funding Should be Priority on National Education Agenda

Opinion: School Funding Should be Priority on National Education Agenda

 Ullrich Boser, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, understands the importance of the major focus of education debate currently: testing. But he urges educators, lawmakers, and parents to place more focus on another important part of the education system: funding.

"School funding reform should be at the top of the national education agenda. In too many areas, there are deep fiscal inequities between the schooling haves and the schooling have-nots. In Illinois, for instance, a recent research report by the Education Trust found that wealthy districts land over $2,500 more per student," he said, according to an article for the U.S. World and News.

He argues that research has shown inequality in state funding is a national issue, and that research has also shown the benefits of school funding are undeniable.

Congress, he says, has not taken action, and most of K-12 federal education dollars are tied to the No Child Left Behind Act, a law that desperately needs re-authorizing.

Boser says that some progress has been made by way of proposals that could start fixing the holes in school funding issues.

[M]y colleagues have recently developed a number of proposals to address this problem. One idea, dubbed the "Fair Funding Incentive Grants," would use the $1 billion included in the president's budget request to encourage more equitable school funding.

More specifically, states with progressive funding programs would receive the extra federal dollars, according to the proposal. States that did not have progressive funding systems would have to 'match' state dollars to federal ones in order to receive the money, and thus the program would serve as an incentive for states to take action.

In addition to fixing where funding goes, Boser says there needs to be a way to help districts build "fiscal capacity" so they can use funding in the most effective ways possible.

By doing this, Boser believes it will help school funding be both productive and progressive to the benefit of our country's students.

Read the full article here and comment below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

05/14/2015

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