Home > Essays > Biden’s Title One Gambit Sounds Familiar. I Hope it Works!

Biden’s Title One Gambit Sounds Familiar. I Hope it Works!

June 5, 2021

I read Matt Barnum’s Chalkbeat article on Title One schools with a sense of de ja vu and a sense of hopefulness. Titled “Title One But Not: What We Know About Joe Biden’s Plan to Fix School Funding”, Mr. Barnum describes how President Biden not only hopes to increase the funds that are allocated using the existing Title One funding formula. but also plans to offer a separate pool of funds that can only be used to address funding inequities that are the result of STATE funding formulas that short change schools that serve children raised in poverty. This called to mind several blog posts I’ve written recommending this very concept, one one of which I posted five years ago today! The post explained how I was schooled by a veteran suburban administrator in an affluent district on why they got funds designed to uplift poor schools: “…there was no way the Federal law would have passed if EVERY district didn’t get SOMETHING from the funds.”

My closing paragraph five years ago read:

But wait! What if MORE money was provided for districts serving children raised in poverty! Alas, that idea will never gain traction because legislators have accepted the fanciful thinking that poverty has no bearing on schooling: teachers only need to work harder and students only need to have more “grit” . The legislators across the country cling to this belief because it doesn’t require them to raise taxes: they only need to assign blame and pay for testing to prove what researchers have known for decades: poverty  matters.

I don’t think much has changed in the past five years… not has much changed since the time the first federal laws on school funding was passed… and not much will change until legislators at all levels of government realize that poverty DOES have a bearing on schooling and can be remedied by providing more funds to schools who serve poor children.

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