School Finance Its Economics and Politics Term Paper

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School Finance: Its Economics and Politics

School financing in America

Revenue sources for federal and state governments

Judicial reviews of school finance policy with evolving standards of equality

School-based decision making

Family choice of schooling

Reform of schooling-finance

Providing equality in educational opportunities to all is one of the cornerstones of American democracy. The founding fathers of America were aware of the necessity of having a population, which is educated since it enables an opportunity for all the citizens of the country to be successful. The necessity and the desire to create an environment where all children have equal opportunities for education to achieve success are now creating fundamental challenges in the field of education in America. In the 20th century, the issues which concerned school finance was about dealing with how to overcome fiscal disparities with the use of state and federal resources within a public school system. The public school system in the initial stages heavily depended on local funding. In the 21st century the issue concerning school finance system is how to improve the learning for all students, which is the fundamental purpose of education. How the performance of schools is affected as a result of the funding policies and practices is a very recent development. But this development has become a central important issue in the decision-making of school finance. Whatever be the issue in a debate, whether it is the role of federal government in education, revolt of the taxpayers, a lack of necessary infrastructure or increasing diversity the underlying problem is the same. It is about the issue of how to fund schools equitably and in an adequate manner. The paper has been divided into sub-sections dealing with several aspects of financing of education in America. (Kern;Richard, 1995)

School Financing in America:

In America policy makers have raised concern and educators as to find ways of making all its future citizens function in an effective manner, since the future society hold situations of highly complex and globally interconnected issues. As a result the solution is to provide schoolchildren with the requisite knowledge and skills that they would need to function effectively as future citizens. And policy makers and educators are constantly searching methods. An important factor of this quest involves school finance. It involves

Alexander, Kern, & Salmon, Richard, G. Public school finance. Mass.: Allyn and Bacon. (1995) an understanding of the decisions about how effectively the amount spend by the country on public elementary and secondary education annually can be most effectively be used and the funds required be raised. The state governments in America provide a school funding ranging from 30 to 100%. Presently the educational finance system in America deals with providing of responsibility to the local level. This includes that the funding responsibilities is based on an average division of roughly between state and local governments. In America there are wide variations in the funding done for education and the level of government that provides these funds. It is the state governments that spend the most on education. This is because education is considered as a duty, which is assigned to the states, since it is not mentioned in the federal Constitution. As a result the responsibility of educational funding falls upon the states. (Linda; Busch; Odden, 1994)

An important challenge for policy makers depend on promoting and increasing achievement for all students. They are concerned with how to make the education finance system to be in tune with this motive.

This is an important challenge since it deals with the idea of connecting finance to the purposes of education in direct terms. The American education system is being complicated by deeply rooted values about education, which have their differences. They are also complicated by the role of individuals and governments in a democratic society and by the role of parents in guiding the development of their children. Along with this there are severe shortcomings in Hertert, Linda, Carolyn Busch, and Allan Odden. "School Financing Inequities Among the States: The Problem from a National Perspective." Journal of Education Finance 19 (Winter 1994), 231-255.

A knowledge about dealing with improving learning for all students. Since the educational policy cannot ignore these understandings, what is needed is to balance difference in the values by means of thoughtful and well-informed knowledge. At the same time it is also essential to have a systematic, bold, and rigorous inquiry in order to have an improvement in the understanding in achieving educational goals in order to give more importance to the matter of making money. (Ladd, Hansen, 1999)

The methods of promoting fairness and equality must be carried forward in such a manner by analyzing the possible effects on the efficiency by way of which the funds are raised. In the last decade the method of fairness in terms of application to school finance has been having a new turn of events with several rounds of litigation and reform. The concept of fairness has shifted its focus from the distribution of educational inputs to which school finance systems should be held in order to give importance to making the idea of educational adequacy as the basis. In order to achieve educational adequacy by the efforts to use finance policies depends primarily on analyzing how to translate funds for the progress of students. The public and the policy makers would have to analyze about the strengths and weaknesses of the different strategies available for change. They also have to identify and weigh the difference in values how they want their schools to be National Research Council. "Making Money Matter: Financing America's Schools." Committee on Education Finance, Helen F. Ladd and Janet S. Hansen, eds. Washington, DC: National Academy Press. (1999) and what they want their schools to do. (Odden, Busch, 1998)

Revenue Sources for Federal and State Governments:

Financing for schools in the United States is being done through the combined efforts of the three levels of government namely the each of the states, local school districts and the federal government. United States had an extraordinary characteristic of providing predominant importance to the use of local property tax. Along with that the federal governments role in education is considerably very small. Even though states provide considerable amount of financial assistance to local school districts the spending levels have a wide range of difference among the districts in each state. Apart from this the spending levels also vary widely across states, which is considered as unfair and inequitable. In addition to the above the local property tax is also not administered equitably. As a result this may entrust a greater burden on taxpayers who fall into the low-income category than when compared with the high-income class. After some reform activities in America disparities in funding in some states has decreased. But in matters of relating to court-mandated reform, disparities exist widely. Along with that disparities continue to exist in conditions affecting the economic circumstances of district residents. This can be illustrated by understanding that districts with residents having low-incomes spend less than districts whose residents have higher incomes. Thus it could be understood that education in America still continues to be influenced by wide variations

Allan, R., Odden, & Carolyn, C, Busch, "Financing schools for high performance: Strategies for improving the use of educational resources." California: Jossey-Bass, Publishers. (1998) in educational spending. (Goertz, Odden, 1999)

One of the major responsibilities of the policy makers has been to have formulas relating to school funding which would ensure fiscal equalization, involve intergovernmental grants, and promote values relating to school finance. Thus it could be understood that the major source of school funding are being through means of local property taxes and state revenues. When a school requires extra state funding or finance they are received by generating block grant. In providing for block grant, there are no restrictions for maintaining local effort. These funds provide help in terms of providing help to increase local spending on education or to reduce the tax rates on property. Till the period of the 1960's local governments provided the largest proportion of revenues for public education. This means that schools had to depend heavily on the local school districts for raising revenue. But during the last three decades the responsibility of providing finance for schools have moved on to the state governments. The state governments share of all revenues had increased to 49.9%, which was, spend for education in 1991. The contribution of the local governments for school funding reduced to 44.3%. (Goertz; Odden, 1994)

Income taxes and sales taxes are the major contributors of the state revenue. Hence it is essential to consider the effects of the increase of the incomes on the retirees. However a Margaret E., Goertz, and Allan Odden. "School-Based Financing." 20th Yearbook of the American Education Finance Association. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, Inc. (1999) large percentage of revenue received by the states from retirement income is non-taxable. In future in the field of funding for public education the…[continue]

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