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Initial Issue Post

skolavitch's picture

When trying to discern the key issues impacting urban education, it is difficult to examine one issue without considering several others. Since the start of the semester, our readings and class discussions have touched on some of the internal and external issues that impact city schools, specifically. Although it is difficult to pick out just one issue to focus on, I think addressing the unequal distribution of funds and resources allotted to public schools in cities is one of the most pressing problems that needs attention. Even with dedicated teachers, responsible leaders on the school board, involved parents and a supportive community surrounding a school, students will still struggle without the materials they need to learn and a functioning place to learn in. While I don’t think solving funding issues alone can solve all the issues impacting urban education, I think if schools were receiving the funding they needed it could begin to mend some issues with having buildings big enough to accommodate the entire student body, working facilities and the resources needed to aid learning throughout the school year. Ideally adequate funding would also allow schools to hire enough teachers for the school to help manage class sizes and allow experienced teachers to remain at a school that can afford a higher salary for them. Just looking at the funding that is allotted for public education and understanding that resources need to be distributed not just equally across districts, but with attention to districts that are particularly in need. 


jccohen's picture


You point out several ways in which the 'unequal distribution of funds' negatively impacts some districts/schools, from supplies to building/facilities to experienced teachers.  Your last sentence points up the issue that not all districts are in equal need of funding, and I'd go on to add (as you may be implying here) that often there's an inverse relationship between need and funding, so that those with more need receive less.  This is built into our public system in the sense that school funding that relies on property taxes will tend to benefit wealthier areas, and in addition cities tend to have buildings/organizations that don't pay property taxes. 

Is there some aspect of this that you might want to pursue for your issue paper?