How to Use Policy to Change Public School’s Funding and Resources Allocation
Ph.D. in Education-Leadership, Change, Policy in Education
The present study aims to investigate the funding disparities deprive many minorities and low-income families of the opportunity for education success. The research endeavors to explore different ways policy can be used to equally allocate educational resources and use them to the advantage of the less fortunate sections of the society. As one of its important goals, this prospectus paper informs the research as to how to weigh the options available to the school managements and the education policy makers. The paper provides a purpose to the proposed study by dwelling upon the idea that children in the inner-cities or poor communities are less likely to complete high school and attend college due to lack of proper education. The paper highlights the need for the proposed study to investigate whether the schools are actually allocating the resources judiciously. As guided by the theory of socialist economics of education this prospectus paper serves to provide a theoretical basis for the proposed dissertation.
Keywords: funding, schools, allocation, opportunity, education, success
The problem of the low educational level among the schools in the poor neighborhoods and schools with a low level of financing is getting more and more widespread in the educational sphere. These schools are not able to provide their students with the relevant and needed level of the education. As a result, the students are not able to enter the higher educational institutions. On the other hand, students are not interested in the learning process since it is quite boring for them to study without need equipment. Therefore, the percentage of students, who drop the school, is getting higher in comparison to the recent years. There is a proportion, which indicates that there is a ratio between the amount of money given as a funding and number of students, who do not attend the classes. The lower percentage of the funding is – the bigger number of students, who do not attend the school classes, is.
Background of the Study
The problem being studied here has been looked at by Roza (2010) from an educational economics perspective. The schools have been fighting to overcome the shrinking budgets, but at the same time, it is important to account for the existing budget properly. There is a need to investigate whether the schools are actually allocating the resources judiciously. The author has stressed on the need to link the school expenditures to student performances and outcomes (Scwartz, Rubenstein & Stifel, n.d.). The school, as well as school performance, is a function of the resources available to them thus the view that they must be made accountable for the funding they receive should the focal point of the school funding policy. Similar views have been expressed by Picus (2000) who has dwelt upon the question as to where do the funds allocated to the schools go. He has observed that the research on the productivity of the allocated funds has not yielded satisfactory results. The same views have been echoed by Poston-Jr. (2010) who has also advocated a performance-based budgeting for the schools. However, at the same time, he also emphasizes that connecting financial support with the performance of the schools is not a new phenomenon. However, there is a need to look at it from a fresh perspective as the goals set for achieving the performance-based school budgeting have largely not been met. Ladd & Goertz (2014) have found that identification of the measuring inputs for the performance is as challenging as is the allocation of the resources in a judicious manner. Further, they have put across the view that measuring the inputs and outputs is only the first step in understanding what drives the disparities in the productivity and efficiency of the schools which ultimately leads us to find ways to deal with it. Equity in school funding has been emphasized by Herman (2013). She has discussed the provincial control models for improving the productivity of the schools funding. Monk, Pijanowski, & Hussain (1997) have also investigated as to how and where the education fund is spent on schools. The policy makers are increasingly assigning the funding decisions to the school site level. They have also discussed the various factors that influence the decisions of the budget allocation decisions of the school authorities.
Studies have shown that the highest proportion of impoverished students attend public schools are funded unfairly and inequitably. The funding disparities deprive many minorities and low-income families of the opportunity for education success (Haberman, 2010). Without proper funding, students are unable to receive the kind of education needed to succeed in school and attend higher education for a better future (Kozol, 2012).
Funding and resources allow schools to provide qualified teachers, school materials, technology, tutoring, special education opportunities, AP classes, gifted classes, and extracurricular activities that are needed to educate students successfully. Schools that do not receive proper funding and resources have difficulties providing the above listed educational tools to educate their students. Children in the inner cities or poor communities are less likely to complete high school and attend college due to lack of proper education, which in turn, is due to poor educational funding and resources. Studies show that high poverty rate schools are funded lesser than wealthier schools because of an inequitable share of local and state funding (Roza, 2010; USDOE, 2011). The goal of this research is to explore different ways policy can be used to allocate educational resources more equally in order for disadvantaged children to receive the same educational opportunities as wealthy children.
Purpose of the Study
This study intends to weigh the options available to the school managements and the education policy makers within the education departments of the government towards improving the opportunities for the minority and the low-income families. The options shall be studied with the gap between existing and desired level of opportunities and consequently the resources in mind. Thus an important purpose of the study is also to gauge or and understand the qualitative or quantitative aspects of the desired level of opportunities and the resources allocation for the purpose (Pan, 2003). The qualitative part of the study will essentially construct a much-needed depth and perspective to the direction in which the policymakers need to focus on understanding the needs of the schools to benefit all the sections of the society. In this respect, the study will try and ascertain the best practices of some of the much-acclaimed school, and that will be found as having done better than most others in last few years. The quantitative part of the study will try and measure the level of the need regarding the budget, the physical infrastructure, the special training facilities, the additional skill sets through data collection by means of interviews and questionnaire (Rennie Center, 2012).
Research Questions and Hypotheses
Chicago Public Schools deals with a problem of low funding. The budget deficit consists of $1milion. As a result, it causes downsizing the number of teachers and provokes strikes month after month (‘Can the State Fix Chicago Public Schools?’, 2016). The study should focus on the problem of funding of schools in an equal way. Furthermore, the study should focus on the issue how funding changes the school productivity. The policy piece can be assessment of state laws that have a different impact on schools districts. For instance, the $1 million deficit in Chicago budget causes the low-productivity in low-income schools since schools do not have enough funds to hire experiences teachers. On the contrary, schools have to fire them because of the low funding.
The study seeks to inform the discourse on equitable school funding and resources allocation as to:
What are the bases for equitable distribution of school funds and resources?
What are the ways and means to measure current allocation of funding and resources accurately?
What are the specific models or directions that can be followed to ensure that funds allocation to schools is linked to the productivity of the schools effectively?
The given research is based on the problem with low-income schools in Chicago. The problem is not just the issue, which occurred in few schools. However, this problem is widespread in the State of Illinois. The Senate committee decided to change this situation for better and approved the school funding reform bill (‘New School Funding Formula Presented to Illinois Senate’, 2017). The bill was aimed to increase the funding by the $120 million. The plan of the bill is to create a balance between all the schools from the low-income schools and high-income schools. The research investigates the issue of the school funding in Chicago and the ways of the solution among the school faculty. Especially, the research should be based on the investigation of methods and approaches, which the teachers use in order to get the students’ attention in the low-income schools.
This study shall be guided by the theory of socialist economics of education. The Theory was put forth by the noted French Writer and historian named Lois Blanc (Wachiye & Nasongo, 2010). The theory aims and emphasizes the need to bring about a state of being in an economy which redistributes the income from the rich to the poor such that an equality of well-being is achieved (Selowsky, 1979). The Theory also forms the basis of the Lorenz curve which geometrically represents the income distribution of families in a particular country at a specific time (Baumol & Blinder, 1979). The theoretical basis chosen for the study stems from the problem that the highest proportion of impoverished students in the public schools is funded inequitably. Also, the theoretical construct provides a basis for the purpose of the study which is to weigh the options available to the school managements and the education policy makers within the education departments of the government towards improving the opportunities for the underprivileged families (Miles & Roza, 2006). The Theory also supports the background of the study in the sense that there has been a struggle on the schools’ part to overcome the shrinking budgets, but at the same time, it is important to account for the existing budget properly. There is a need to investigate whether the schools are actually allocating funding and resources judiciously.
Nature of the Study
The quantitative method is carried out to complete the given investigation. Since the quantitative method includes the experimental control during the investigation, the given research involves this method in the investigation for drawing conclusions while practicing the new experiments in the school’s funding. The next step is analyzing and modeling of the acquired data. The data, which one may receive from the quantitative method, demonstrates the real level of funding and provoke the establishment of the program for development and improvement of its quality. However, the qualitative method may be used as well for giving the material for employment the critical thinking skills. The intent is to visit a few schools that are located in low-income neighborhoods and interview teachers, students, parents and other school officials. In depth and qualitative data will be gathered through discussions and shall be deliberated upon. Also, existing data regarding the issue in question will be used.
AP (Advanced Placement) classes:
Classes for gifted and talented students, which have a need for the special educational environment in order to facilitate their academic, emotional, and social development and improvement (‘What Is Gifted Education? - History, Models & Issues | Study.com’, 2017).
Programs, which are formed in a special educational way for the students, who have delayed mental/ physically/ emotionally responses (‘What is Special Education?’, 2017).
The study may require the deeper investigation of the student’s personal life in order to draw conclusion how it affects the academic success in the school. Moreover, the survey may demand the information about parents and their educational background. This data may be secret for the examinations since it is too personal information.
Scope and Delimitations
The given research should be multidimensional. Therefore, the research should take into consideration the students’ party to the investigation. The core task is to find out why the students from the poor neighborhoods and low-income schools come up with the decisions to stop attending school and not to obtain any of the educational levels at all. The students should consider either their interest/ attention to the studying (or absence of it) or the necessity to earn some money while being under aged.
The limitations of the study include the different personalities and character of both the teachers and the students. The school may have the talented teachers, who may work with the enthusiasm and provide the students with more knowledge than the schools with high funding. They search for all the possible methods and approaches so that all the students could acquire all the needed knowledge without extremely expensive equipment. On the other hand, the poor neighborhood and low-income school may have a number of students with a high ration of talent. Therefore, the percentage of the educational level of the schools may be higher because of these exceptionally talented students.
Significance of the Study
The given study will serve to establish the standards for ascertaining the needs as well as the resources for the schools to be able to mobilize the resources and allocate them judiciously for an equitable learning environment at the schools (Ballou, 1998). The resources provided as part of the school infrastructure will bring about uniformity in the education and the performance of the individual students as well as the respective schools as a whole (Leachman & Mai, 2014). The professionals, who function as educational counselors or the academicians in the boards or societies of various schools, as well as the government officials in the education department, will be able to gain value able insights for better resources planning towards equitable use in the schools (Wood & Theobald, 2002). The study shall play an important role in informing the ongoing debate on whether to empower schools as part of state policy or to help the socially backward sections of the school going children through their families (Clarke & Jha, 2013). In totality, the study will potentially play an important role in the social uplifting of the weaker sections of the society.
Significance to Theory
The study will provide the educators with the solutions how to change the following situation with the low-income schools. The previous research was based on the examination of the different states and the comparison of the low-income schools and high-income schools. The new teachers, who have the high educational background and the help of the mentors and counselors, are not interested in working in the low-income schools (Johnson, Kardos, Kauffman, Liu, & Donaldson, 2004). This study will draw conclusions to these problems and find out the solution to the problem how to mix the experienced teachers between the low-income and high-income schools.
Significance to Practice
The study intends to use test scores from schools students, teacher surveys, and the observations of school board members during budget meetings, interviews with school authorities, historical documents from state records, as well as information from a current online educational database of the federal government. Besides, the relevant news and scholarly journals, articles and books shall be consulted (Sindhu, 2012).
Significance to Social Change
The study will provide the educationists and methodologists with the material, which will facilitate the understanding the real level of the education in the poor neighborhoods and low-income schools with low funding. Therefore, the findings, which reflect the real education level, will establish a link between the theoretical and practical background. As a result, these actions will improve and develop the educational levels of the school students in the poor neighborhoods and schools with low funding.
Summary and Transition
The solution to this existed problem should be found out by the cooperation of the authorities and educators in Chicago. After analyzing the problem and its outcomes, the both sides should create a new program for schools, which will not demand big sums of funding, though, provide the students with necessary theoretical and practical knowledge. The authorities and methodologists of the Chicago city should work on the course program for teachers in order to train them to work in low-income schools. Moreover, by the time the schools will not be able to get more funding; the authorities should give benefits for new but experienced teachers, who are ready to work in the poor neighborhoods or low-income schools. This issue should be examined and analyzed more in order to get data and proportion in the way of increasing of funding among the low-income schools.
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