Funny Money: How Federal Education Funding Hurts Poor and Minority Students

26 Pages Posted: 14 May 2010

See all articles by Cassandra Havard

Cassandra Havard

University of Baltimore - School of Law

Date Written: 2009


Neither race nor class alone can predict educational achievement. However, in America, disparities in funding for education may be an impediment to educational opportunity for disadvantaged youth. At the crux of the Nation's achievement gap among minority children is the question of the how states should allocate federal education funds, and how local school districts should use those monies. Educators have long recognized that the socioeconomic circumstances of many public school students present great educational challenges. Since 1965, Congress has authorized the use of federal funds by local school districts to remedy the achievement gap.

Part I of this Article discusses the background and history of Title I, and reviews the debates surrounding the statute's enactment. The Section ends by arguing that problems with the statute's contorted history and weak initial implementation have contributed greatly to ineffective enforcement and inequitable funding outcomes. Part II discusses the appropriate role for federal government in local school funding. It describes federal funding for education as cooperative federalism, and argues that the federalist assertion that education is solely a local issue is mistaken by analyzing the characteristics and types of programs and funding historically and currently available for state and local education programs. Part II concludes by defining the role that federal government should play in eradicating improper funding allocations at the state and local level. Comparability is the most critical issue to examine if funding inequities are to be eradicated. Part III argues that there should be changes in both the ideology and the legislative schemes that encompass Title I. Specifically, Title I should be more “child-centered” and the funding formula should be keyed to the "Title I child."

Keywords: Education, Funding, Title I, Minority Students, Disadvantaged Youth, Children, Federal Education Funds, Elementary And Secondary School Act Of 1965 (ESEA), No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), Poor, High-Poverty Schools

JEL Classification: K39, K49, J78, J79, I28, I29

Suggested Citation

Havard, Cassandra, Funny Money: How Federal Education Funding Hurts Poor and Minority Students (2009). Temple Political & Civil Rights Law Review, Vol. 19, No. 1, 2009, University of Baltimore School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN:

Cassandra Havard (Contact Author)

University of Baltimore - School of Law ( email )

1420 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21218
United States

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