WASHINGTON, June 1, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A U.S. News & World Report investigative analysis of nearly 13,000 school districts reveals substantial shortcomings in the federal education law. Title I, the largest federal K-12 program, was developed to combat inequalities in public education largely stemming from unequal access to resources. The U.S. News analysis found that the formula used to distribute Title I dollars ultimately directs billions in funding to districts that are wealthier on average, failing to adequately help the low-income students it intends to serve.
As part of the report, U.S. News today released a searchable tool that allows citizens to compare the amount of Title I dollars their district receives to the area's poverty level, child population, state and local funding. A second tool enables users to evaluate how proposed changes to the formula could impact future funding.
Key findings on federal education funding from U.S. News:
- Nearly 20 percent of Title I funding is directed toward districts that are wealthier on average.
- Larger districts and big urban areas generally benefit from Title I, whereas funding in rural districts and small cities is limited. For example, a district in Mississippi – with a child poverty rate above 50 percent – received similar funding per child as a New Jersey district that has a child poverty rate below 8 percent.
- School districts with high concentrations of poverty are often shortchanged. For instance, a Virginia district with a child poverty rate of more than 30 percent receives less than $1 million in Title I funding, whereas another district in the state with an 8 percent child poverty rate receives more than $20 million in funding.
- In general, Southern states are negatively affected by the Title I formula.
"The federal government directs nearly $15 billion annually in the form of Title I funding to local school districts to address the difference in education inequalities – the goal being to give students in high-poverty areas the same education as those in wealthier areas," said Lauren Camera, education reporter at U.S. News. "Our analysis found that in directing money to districts that already have a large amount of local and state education funding, the Title I program has fallen short, compounding economic disparities between low-income and wealthy districts."
The first of their kind, the U.S. News datasets are based on information from the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Census Bureau, The Hamilton Project and reports from the Congressional Research Service.
About U.S. News & World Report
U.S. News & World Report is a digital news and information company that empowers people to make better, more informed decisions about important issues affecting their lives. Focusing on Education, Health, Personal Finance, Travel, Cars and News & Opinion, USNews.com provides consumer advice, rankings, news and analysis to serve people making complex decisions throughout all stages of life. More than 37 million people visit USNews.com each month for research and guidance. Founded in 1933, U.S. News is headquartered in Washington, D.C.
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SOURCE U.S. News & World Report