New Report: Unequal Education
Posted by on September 10, 2012
In a new report from the Center for American Progress, Ary Spatig-Amerikaner writes that nearly 60 years after Brown v. Board of Education, public schools remain separate and unequal. Forty percent of black and Hispanic students attend schools that are 90-percent nonwhite, while the average white student attends a school 77-percent white. And though today’s racial separation lacks a legal mandate, it “just as surely reflects and reinforces lingering status differences between whites and nonwhites by enabling a system of public education funding that shortchanges students of color.” This is evidenced by school-level expenditure data from the U.S. Department of Education in 2009, which for the first time included real teacher salaries and demonstrated that students of color attend schools with significantly less funding. The traditional explanation for this — variation in per-pupil spending stems from differing property-tax bases between districts — is inaccurate, since nearly 40 percent of variation in per-pupil spending occurs within districts. As a remedy, Spatig-Amerikaner calls for elimination of a particular provision in Title I that requires exclusion of teacher-salary differentials tied to experience when determining funding-comparability compliance. This alone would get more equitable expenditures for students of color, since experience is a chief driver of teacher salaries.
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