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Report highlights school funding inequities

The Center for American Progress recently released a report showing that students of color are shortchanged in comparison to their white peers in terms of the amount of federal funding that each student receives.  Schools enrolling 90% or more non-white students spend $733 less per pupil per year than schools enrolling 90% or more white students.  On a per student basis, each white student receives about $334 more in district spending than each black student.

Racially-isolated schools such as those described in the report are associated with a higher share of students with special needs, more students who are at risk of failing, and the increased financial burdens related to educating students with other challenging educational obstacles. One would expect that racially-isolated schools such as these would receive the greatest share of federal funding rather than a disproportionately small one.

However, the federal government actually sends more money for teacher salaries to wealthier districts employing teachers who are more experienced and more likely to possess credentials like National Board Certification. This policy is mirrored in North Carolina, where the state sends more money to districts that have more experienced and highly skilled teachers than to districts with more inexperienced teachers. Both North Carolina and the Department of Education need to significantly alter the way they allot scarce education funding dollars to ensure that the money is actually reaching the students who need it most.

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