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Education Funding - Research Paper Example

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Name Student identification Course Institution Date (all above optional – if you need them) History and Political Science: Research Paper Topic Education Funding The Essay Constitutionally, the United States of America (US) places the responsibility for education in State government…
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Education Funding
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Download file to see previous pages From its beginnings, debate and contention has surrounded the funding of education: with primarily imbalances and inequities being pointed to as major problems within the US education system. The initial legislation making Federal support possible was enacted in 1965, with the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) according to which federal grants could support elementary and secondary schoolchildren from lower-income families. At the same time, the federal funds were directed towards school libraries, textbooks, education centers and services, State education agencies, research in education, and professional development for education staff (Spellings, 2005, website). Again in 2001 federal funding was allocated to national education with the No Child left behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) intending to ensure that the achievement levels of all students, nationwide, are raised, and that the achievement gap across the nation is narrowed (Federal Education Budget Project website (febp), 2011). Notably, historical court decisions have continually favored the idea that American education should be made more equal. The United States Supreme Court (USSC) decision in the Brown v. Board of Education overturned on constitutional grounds, for example, the “separate, but equal” court decision in the Plessy v. Ferguson (1896). The outcome of the San Antonio v. Rodriguez (1973) case went further in this move toward equalization of education, by recognizing education as a fundamental right, and this meant that States had to fund education equitably. But in the matter of increased funding for education, the courts have been less successful. The courts are able to interpret and rule on existing law, but cannot in effect change it. Funding for K-12 education is legislated, not judicially determined. The education funding issue it appears will have to be solved by the interest groups surrounding it – the parents, administrators, teachers and legislators who feel the effects of changes in educational funding most directly (Sanchez, 2011). And the consistently decreasing federal and State spend on education is clear to observe. By the 2004-2005 financial year federal spending on education was estimated to be $536 billion, an allocation that exceeded national tax-spend on defense (Spellings, 2005, website); in 2010, the education discretionary budget was $64.1 billion; and in 2011, the request for the 2012-13 financial year for the discretionary education budget is $77.4 billion (U.S. Department of Education website (A), 2011). In nominal terms, educational funding actually declined between 2006 and 2008, and thanks to economic stimulus legislation, showed a one-year real growth in only in 2009 (febp website, 2011). At the end of 2010, though, the federal stimulus money had been spent. States faced serious shortages, and anticipated that they would have to lay off thousands, and cancel numerous popular school programs in many States. Although they had saved teachers’ jobs, States had cut their own expenditure on education, and replaced these shortfalls in their budgets with stimulus money (Cavanagh & Hollingsworth, 2011). With the current view that reform rather than increased spending is the route to take, and that federal subsidies will continue to be cut for the foreseeable future, opposition to the direction being taken by the Obama administration’s proposals has been widespread. An important group of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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