Friday, December 22, 2006

More on Engines of Inequality: This Time at the Primary and Secondary Levels

Interesting article from the AP on the distribution of Federal funds at the Primary and Secondary level. It would seem our broken aid system extends to the Primary and Secondary levels, in addition to Institutions of Higher Education.

As we've seen from the report published last month by Education Trust (I've posted the .pdf of the full report here), the nation's public universities have spent the past decade abandoning their original mission to serve as the best hope for the advancement of young people from the middle and lower classes.

Perhaps, the universities have simply taken a que from the Feds. Here's a sample from the AP article:

Poor students are shortchanged by federal and state school aid policies, a report released Wednesday says.

At the federal level, the Education Department gives states nearly $13 billion a year to help students in low-income districts.

The complex formula used to determine each state's share guarantees a minimum amount for small states. That means Wyoming, Vermont and North Dakota, for example, can get more money per poor student than do more populous states.

Federal school dollars also are tied to the amount that each state spends on education. States that spend more get more from Washington.

But this link rewards states more for their wealth than their efforts to educate poor kids, according to the Education Trust, a Washington-based children's advocacy group.

For example, the report shows Maryland has fewer poor children than Arkansas but gets about 50 percent more federal aid per poor child, $1,522, than does Arkansas, at $1,009.

The gap occurs even though Arkansas dedicates a larger share of its resources to education than does wealthier Maryland, the report says.

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