Great Society reformers targeted poverty as the defining characteristic for a novel federal education policy in the United States in 1965. Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), reincarnated within the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, distributes financial aid to disadvantaged students within public schools solely based upon students’ socioeconomic status. This Article does not dispute that financial resources improve student outcomes, but this Article argues that Title I’s funding formula is ineffective, and a new funding scheme – specifically, a mainstreaming equality funding scheme – must replace it. The implementation of this funding scheme will require Congress to acknowledge that poverty in the United States is not a mere set of behaviors and attitudes but is intricately linked to race and class. Mainstreaming equality schemes require that public bodies assess the impact of their policies on equality of opportunity and monitor any adverse impact on the promotion of equality of opportunity. This Article describes how such a scheme would address disparities among students. Second, this Article argues that Congress should define beneficiary groups based on characteristics additional to socioeconomic status, including measures of cultural isolation and local tax revenue contributed to public education. Third, this Article establishes that a federal mainstreaming school funding scheme based on “layered disadvantage” and its multiplicative effects will both acknowledge and address long-time, covered attitudes about race, poverty and privilege in the United States and the ways in which those attitudes continue to enforce a paralyzed outcome, especially for African American students within public schools. Finally, by examining mainstreaming equality models implemented in the European Union, this Article considers in detail the methodology for conducting mainstreaming equality within a federal school funding scheme as implemented by Congress with respect to the individual states.
Elizabeth K. Hinson,
Mainstreaming Equality in Federal Budgeting: Addressing Educational Inequities With Regard to the States,
Mich. J. Race & L.
Available at: http://repository.law.umich.edu/mjrl/vol20/iss2/6