According to a new report released Wednesday by the Center for American Progress, schools with a student body of 90 percent or more non-white students spend $733 less per child than schools with 90 percent or more white students.
Approximately one-third of America’s schools fit these criteria, with schools spending $334 more on every individual white student nationwide on average. The report, titled “Unequal Education,” concludes that non-white students are being intentionally deprived of their education by “racially isolated” schools, which utilize loopholes in spending laws to avoid indictment.
“Almost 40 percent of black and Hispanic students attend schools where more than 90 percent of students are nonwhite. The average white student attends a school where 77 percent of his or her peers are also white,” the report notes. “Schools today are ‘as segregated as they were in the 1960s before busing began.’ We are living in a world in which schools are patently separate.”
Ary Spatig-Amerikaner, the report’s author, directly challenges Title I of the Elementary and Secondary School Act, a federal policy put in place to prevent district inequalities. School districts are forced to comply with federal standards providing comparable educational services to schools regardless of their income levels, in order to collect Title I money. This policy, however, does not take into account teacher salary differentials while determining whether schools are comparable. Essentially, high-income district schools are able to lure away more experienced teachers who demand a higher salary without the school district facing compliance issues from the government.
Disparities in the quality of education are difficult to measure, but the raw numbers recorded by the U.S. Department of Education on school expenditure display the inequality in public school spending. Spatig-Amerikaner was one of the first to process this data, which was recorded for the first time in American history in 2009. Data from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009 put into action by the Obama administration was just released to the public in December 2011.