A Report On How School Funding Benefits White Children


group of boys standing beside white wooden house

The truth is that, in 2019,  U.S. public education  is still a separate but ‘unequal’ system. As originally intended and framed, long before Brown v. Board of Education in Topeka, Kansas in 1954, public education was totally segregated.  The schools and communities inhabited by children of color were significantly underresourced. Along with fewer resources, there were unhealthy building conditions long before school districts in underserved areas were staffed with less ‘masterful’ educators.

Instructional materials, including textbooks, were scarse and the texts that were provided were either outdated or in poor condition. A testament to the resilience and resolve of children of color,  impressive numbers successfully navigate the system, graduate from high school and go on to pursue postsecondary education and/or careers.

In contrast to the poverty which existed primarily in lower income community school districts, white children lavished in mostly pristine learning environments. Why? Because their school districts are funded more than $2,000.00 more per student than black community school districts. Yet, both environments are publically funded. Investments made through taxes, still perpetuates the inequality of our public education system across school districts and the country. Noteworthy, is that the South mimics more equality than anywhere else.

man and women wearing red and black academic gowns and black mortar boards
Photo by Hai Nguyen on Pexels.com

An equitable public education for all, as a pathway to prosperity and productive citizenship, logically would dictate and inform us that the funding that reaches the poorer areas should be above standard-greater or at least equal to the schools attended by middle class whites.

Historically, black and brown families  were steered into certain communities. Without regard to family wealth, these families were denied access to housing and ownership in otherwise white middle-class neighborhoods.

The locations where they were permitted to live were areas where white businesses closed, sanitation service was irregular, playgrounds, pools, movie theaters ….had been abandoned. Taxes are the sources of funding for schools. In areas with impoverished people, less contributions into the ‘pot’ came from their tax dollars.

Areas where income is higher, are funded at higher amounts, and thus their children attend nicer schools. This antiquated method of determining education funding is fundamentally wrong.  Once again, it perpetuates and supports achievement, income and wealth gaps in America.

The gaps and disparities in society between the races continue to negatively impact poorer children of color. That is not to say that there aren’t poor white families whose children attend schools similarly funded. Paying for public education and schools across the country, lies at the feet of every one of us, and the taxes we pay into the education system are meant to equalize the access to quality learning opportunities in similarly resourced facilities. spelling

Regardless of income or tax base, more wealthy students’ schools should not be better resourced than less wealthy school districts. In some areas, as little as two city blocks can demonstrate sharp differences in resourcing. Ask yourself, with true empathic honesty, whether it is fair, equal or equitable for poorer children to receive less resources than more wealthy. Does that not ensure that the poorer children remain at a disadvantage and remain poor during their lifetime?Children in families who’ve historically been denied access to education,in fact punished,  and thus less access to wealth, also get punished and yet blamed for their poverty.

NPR Education wrote an article  and detailed where and how our tax dollars support the inequitable investments in public education in the United States. Read the article and recent report!


Here at NPR Ed, we write a lot about the head-spinning ways that schools are funded in the U.S.

In our School Money project — a collaboration between NPR Ed and member station reporters across the country — we looked into how the U.S. pays for its public schools and the research about the kinds of investments that really make a difference for students.

We got a chance to revisit those ideas this week, when the nonprofit EdBuild released a report on the massive disparities in funding between school districts across the country.

It starts with a number: $23 billion. According to EdBuild, that’s how much more funding predominantly white school districts receive compared with districts that serve mostly students of color.

As Rebecca Sibilia, founder and CEO of EdBuild, explains, a school district’s resources often come down to how wealthy an area is and how much residents pay in taxes.

“We have built a school funding system that is reliant on geography, and therefore the school funding system has inherited all of the historical ills of where we have forced and incentivize people to live,” she says.

The average district serving mostly white students gets $2,226 more per student than a school district serving mostly students of color, the report says.

If you read through it, you might notice that in some of the states with the worst funding disparities — like Arizona, Oklahoma and Colorado — teachers have gone on strike in the past year.

And funding looks more equal in the South, where school district lines are often drawn along county lines, making districts larger across the board.

“This confirms a theory that we’ve had, which is that the larger the tax base — the larger the actual geography of the school districts — the more you can actually balance out the difference between a wealthy white suburb and a less wealthy rural or urban area,” Sibilia says.

EdBuild singles out 21 states — including California, New Jersey and New York — in which mostly white districts get more funding than districts composed primarily of students of color.

Click the button below to read more about the report

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