UNEQUAL FUNDING AND ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT

Document Type:Thesis

Subject Area:Sociology

Document 1

Public schools receive their funding from three principal sources; 57% of funding comes from the state, 14% from the federal government, and the remaining 29% from other local sources and donations (Biddle & Berliner, 2002). However, there exists a huge discrepancy in the funding of schools as it varies across the school districts. These variations and discrepancy are said to have had a great impact on the performance levels of students. This paper reviews various historical works of literature establishing the effect of this variation in funding while simultaneously delving into the link that exists between unequal funding and educational attainment. Education in 19th Century The then government schools were commonly known as the common schools. There was a law that was passed by the Massachusetts that required every town to choose a school committee which could organize public schools into one whole unit. Education was in the hands of the States as children were declared as being state property. On the other hand, there were also the religious schools which were non-sectarian. The federal government began to play a role after the passing of the Morrill Act by the Congress (Biddle & Berliner, 2002). This act granted land on which colleges could be elected. This led to the establishment of the Federal office of Education which was charged with administering support to the land-grant universities and colleges. In the role of the federal government in education gradually increased from 19th century to the 21st century through the 20th century. The role of the aforementioned players in the education sector of the United States has not been successful in reducing the funding gap that exists between various schools in various districts.

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Funding is necessary for equipping teachers with the relevant skills and knowledge, acquisition of reading materials, equipment, and other facilities. This differences in funding have put some schools in an advantageous position over others as they have the wherewithal needed in getting the best teachers and equipping the schools with the required materials and facilities (Best & Kahn, 2016). This impliedly means that some schools with low funding may not have these facilities. As a result, learning may be disruptive to them and this may be reflected in their performance in schools. This, therefore, asserts the existence of a link between the unequal funding and the performance or educational attainment. According to Wenglinsky (1997), a study that was conducted on the distortion of the American education system, the unequal funding per head in different states and district has distorted the education system in the United States.

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This was confirmed by the ruling of the Supreme Court of California in 1971. This was found to be a deprivation measure that elicited lack of positive attitude towards learning and schooling. The negative emotionality in turn affected to cognitive performance of these school children. In this regard, the study found some neighboring effects as a foundation of poor performance in some schools. It asserted that most of these students who received low funding per head came from low progression areas. As such, they lacked the role models in this low academic progression areas where they lived. They argued the resistance to the move was a function of ignorance about the funding differences that existed and their effects and that they were “unthinkingly” accepting the traditional way of funding education. The opposers of the move argued that the success or failure of a student is resultant of the input of effort and not social circumstances.

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This study, however, found that there was a sizeable net effect of differences in funding on the achievement of the students. The effects were found to be large. This was also found to be true by a cross-sectional study that was conducted and which examined the spending trends up to 1991 from 1967 (Best & Kahn, 2016). This places the higher-funded schools at an advantage over those that are less funded. According to a study that was conducted on the 11th-grade achievement scores and which engaged many districts in Oklahoma, the per-student funding and the student poverty within the schools were found connected with achievement (Condron & Roscigno, 2003). The effects of the student poverty were found to be more severe than they were those of per-student funding. Actually, the study established that student poverty affected student achievement twice as much as the per-student funding did.

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The same results were obtained as being a determinant of the 8th-grade scores across the many schools in various districts of the states. J. Berliner, D. C. Unequal School Funding in the United States. Educational Leadership, 59(8), 48-59. Disparities within: Unequal spending and achievement in an urban school district. Sociology of Education, 18-36. CONDRON, D. J. ROSCIGNO, V.

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