Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Let's make sure the kids are left behind

Center for American Progress puts together the numbers for all the states, by school district, changes in educational funding. Now you can look up your school district and find how much Title I funding change there is from 2003. The short of it is:
    But Department of Education data obtained by the Center of American Progress, formerly unavailable to the public, reveals the problem is even worse than previously reported. Data detailing cuts at the local level shows over 7,000 school districts not just in 11 states but across the nation will face significant cuts in federal funds to help disadvantaged kids in reading, math and other subjects. Nearly half of all school districts and millions of children will be affected.

    The Bush administration's persistent underfunding of federal education programs is largely responsible for the cuts. For 2004, the President has spent more than $6 billion less in Title I education funding than he committed to when he signed the No Child Left Behind Act.
So keep these numbers handy if you hear of how our fearless educational leader has increased funding for schools in his next speech.

Note also these are Title I numbers. And in our school district, the net change is -.08%. While this may seem minor, we have here less money coming in from the state (thanks to mister movie star governor and our 'blinded by the light' citizens who thought they were voting for the terminator) as well as budget short-falls due to plain old increases in cost of doing business. On top of that NCLB pulls more money away, just from the cost of paying for tests and administration of the tests. This is off the top of my head; I'm sure there's more but the point is, our fearless leader and his minions are misleading when they say they are providing even more funds this year in education. It's all about splitting hairs and making implications that are true at some tiny nanosecond for some tiny aspect of NCLB. The larger picture again is that it's wonderful to say we're making states accountable through testing and we're checking sub-groups to look for improvement. But if you're going to harshly penalize states with unrealistic standards and providing not enough money for required testing, it's not about helping kids because it ends up being about dismantling the public educational system and pulling money into private corporations.