Last Updated: March 20, 2010
Is the education of a disadvantaged child in an urban school worth more than the education of a disadvantaged child in a rural school? Should a disadvantaged child in a wealthy suburb count more in a federal funding formula than a disadvantaged child in a high-poverty rural community?
Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (now known as No Child Left Behind) provides federal funding to local school districts to help them meet the educational needs of disadvantaged students, primarily those living in poverty.
The formula by which these funds are distributed is badly flawed.
One provision sends more money for each disadvantaged student in a large school district and less money for each disadvantaged student in a small district, even if the poverty rate in the smaller district is higher than the poverty rate in the larger district. It’s called “Number Weighting” and it takes money from small schools with the most poverty and gives it to big schools with the least poverty.
Another provision sends more money to states that spend more per pupil on public education — wealthy states — and less to states that spend little — poor states. This lets legislatures in states where support for education is weakest dictate how much federal funding goes to help disadvantaged students.
To learn more about these and other formula injustices, go to www.formulafairness.com.
The Formula Fairness Campaign takes aim at these unfair provisions based on this simple principle: The education of a disadvantaged child in a small, rural school is worth as much to the nation as the education of a disadvantaged child anywhere.
The Formula Fairness Campaign’s objective is to end Title I formula discrimination against disadvantaged rural students. We will press for reforms, engage people in the process, find solutions, and get them enacted.
Rural poor children are not the only ones unfairly affected by the Title I formula. Many high-poverty cities are also adversely affected. The Formula Fairness Campaign will work with advocates for these children to make the formula fair for them as well.
What you can do now:
1. Go to www.formulafairness.com to
2. Forward this to your friends, co-workers, members of organizations you belong to.
The Formula Fairness Campaign is sponsored by the Rural School and Community Trust. Campaign Co-Sponsors include:
Organizations wanting to sign up as co-sponsors of the campaign contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
To receive a free monthly electronic newsletter on rural education policy issues, sign up for Rural Policy Matters here: http://www.ruraledu.org/getprm.html.