The Problem of Additional Funfing of School With Students With Low Social Status

Topics: Education

One of the main issues behind why high school graduates do not possess the skill set necessary to thrive in the 21st century workforce and life is the vast variety of career and college preparation development programs in funding, objectives, target populations, services and accountability. It is customary for schools that serve low income and disengaged populations to not have access to additional funding opportunities, or qualified teachers which limits their ability to provide students with a real chance of mobility.

(Orfield, G., & Ayscue, J. B., 2018)

In the awakening of the college and career readiness movement there was an emphasis on the fact that inequalities were rooted on discrimination and poverty which led to policies that promoted voluntary racial assimilation through schools of choice, magnet schools and charter schools which did little to alleviate racial segregation and disproportionately benefitted whites. Nevertheless, it increased attention on the subject and led to innovative ideas and approaches to better prepare students, some of which have been deemed successful.

(Orfield, G., & Ayscue, J. B., 2018)

The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) passed by the Bush Administration began the journey towards a more equitable education landscape through the expansion of inclusive programs for disadvantaged communities to ensure every child had a chance to succeed. The act focused on the readiness aspect of college career readiness by concentrating on supporting socioeconomic learning, intrapersonal skills and other employability skills. The reforms included block scheduling, small schools, career academies and “choice programs” such as charter schools and vouchers.

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It sets high standards for schools and districts and gave them freedom to state their own needs, strategies to address them, proficiency levels and evaluation methods. (U.S. Department of Education)

There are enormous variations among standards and assessments from state to state due to the high expectations and lack of direction. As policies push towards more local empowerment the divide also increases. Isolated areas, both demographically and geographically, within states limit the resources students have access to; rural communities and schools that serve poor students will continue experiencing severe disadvantages.

There have been attempts to regulate these variations and create metrics for comparisons across states. The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) has created a rigorous assessment to measure the different proficiency levels among states and it sheds light on the fact that due to the lack of accountability several states only decreased their proficiency standards. A consortium of states created the Common Core Standards as a guide to establish minimum requirements across the board that states should meet in the fields of mathematics and the English language to comply with the basic skills readiness aspect of the college career initiative regardless of variations in proficiency and assessments created by each estate under NCLB. However, the federal government is not involved and not all states participate, thus weakening the initiative and its effectiveness. (U.S. Department of Education)

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) signed by President Obama in 2015 played a vital role in the new approach to education under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) The amendment decreased federal interference on education reform and allotted more power to the states which significantly reduced oversight and relaxed accountability.

The ESSA targeted the “one size fits all” approach of the No Child Left Behind Act by promoting decentralization and empowering states by arguing that State Education Agencies (SEAs) and Local Education Agencies (LEASs) in conjunction would be better suited to create their own standards. This also allows for local agencies to establish their most pressing challenges for underserved students, setting high standards through proficiency levels, and curriculum that meets said standards by encouraging teachers to create their own teaching pathways. The act assigned $350 million to help states develop high quality assessments and support the implementation of new approaches to address the needs of underserved populations.

One example was the Race to the Top initiative, which encouraged states to come up with innovative and comprehensive approaches to adoption of assessments, building of data systems, and teacher support. The goal was to empower low achieving schools that were often under resourced and serve populations in need. Furthermore, it has increased emphasis on local collaboration of state policy makers, education administrators and the private sector. (Scott, G. A., 2011) The Trump administration has taken a new approach to college and career readiness by arguing there is a monopoly on education and we need to provide parents with an array of educational options for their children. U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has been a long advocate of “school choice” in the forms of charter school support and vouchers for private schools which has been introduced into the national arena by the latest amendment.

Although the ESSA amendment by the Obama administration revolutionized the approach to education by decentralizing schools and giving more liberty to the states, the flexibility granted under the Trump administration gave it a whole new meaning. It supported, empowered states and favored the growth of the private industry in education. Experts argue the proposals to ESSA introduced by the Trump administration favors the rich and does not care for the poor, working-class Americans, particularly people of color. (Nguyen, C., & Kebede, M. (2017) The amendment set several pushbacks inequality by rescinding documents that called for student diversity and punished schools for discriminatory discipline practices, as well as reversed accountability measures the Obama administration had set to regulate accountability under NCLB. (Ujifusa, A., 2018)

Choice is the central theme of the Trump administration’s education policy. The current administration’s approach favors private enterprise and seeks to defund public institutions which have been highly controversial since urban choice systems are often found to be discriminatory. (Orfield, G., & Ayscue, J. B., 2018) As part of the school choice movement efforts toward parental involvement, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos released a parent and a guardian friendly letter, written only in plain English to inform parents of their options available.

In her letter, DeVos describes that students may opt out of taking national standardized tests (such as the ACT or SAT) and may instead take a different type of test which might be beneficial for charter schools who specialize in certain fields or trades. It also allows the implementation of adaptive testing, which factors in the question difficulty level and the student’s performance in previous questions. (U.S. Department of Education)

Nevertheless, it loses the progress on accountability previous administrations tried to achieve, especially when it comes to English learners. According to the letter, schools may exclude recently arrived English learners from taking performance assessments. The schools will be rewarded once the students advance into normal placement classes, but they can categorize former English learners as English learners for up to four years. This allows for schools hold back a child that has progressed through grade levels and in their senior year move them into regular classes and still get rewarded for the student’s “progress.”

In regards to student-focused activities, schools designated in need of improvement apply for improvement funding under Title I, Part A and may offer their children the opportunity to transfer to another school all while using funds for transportation or other programs within the school. The letter also explains that their children’s “state and district have some flexibility to use federal funds in ways that may better meet student needs” meaning schools are free to choose what they spend their funds on. These funds may also be accessed by states, charter management organizations, and charter developers, to create and expand public and private charter schools yet the letter makes no mention of intervention of access by private enterprises.

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The Problem of Additional Funfing of School With Students With Low Social Status. (2022, Apr 25). Retrieved from

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