One of the major drivers of the economy in any part of the world is education. It is through the education system that individuals are equipped with the right attitudes, skills, and knowledge that is likely to take the economy to the next level. The opportunity for education also helps in opening up and transforming various prospects for the individual irrespective of where they come from. Since there is a significant link between illiteracy and poverty, it is important for the stakeholders to ensure that the funding systems work so that all students get equal opportunities (Baker). While education is largely accessible to those who come from wealthy families, it is a big challenge for those who are from low-income families mainly due to funding issues. Therefore, the issue needs to be identified and analyzed so that it is addressed before it gets out of hand because it is closely related to educational outcomes.
School funding is an issue that has often raised concerns all over the world because it is not only viewed as a social but also as a political issue. In the US for instance, it has led to a big gap in academic achievement. Learners from low-income backgrounds have consistently fallen behind their counterparts from wealthy families in terms of test scores, college enrolment and graduation rates (Ostrander). This means that although the learners are expected to go through the same educational system, they do not enjoy equal opportunities. the main risk with this trend is that the educational achievement gap continues to widen thus enhancing the cycle of poverty since the poor that are unable to go through the education system are cast into poverty due to lack of opportunity. Both the federal and state policymakers have tried to address the issue of school funding but there has been an imbalance in terms of providing financial resources since schools that host learners from wealthy families have always received more finances than they need as compared to those from poor backgrounds (Baker). This has made it quite difficult for the inadequately funded schools to improve facilities that can enhance instruction, achievement standards and academic success.
Needy school districts require adequate funding for them to help in bridging the academic achievement gap. The requirement is more as compared to those schools attended by children from wealthy families. There is a strong connection between school funding and academic performance (Ostrander). In budget discussions at both local and state levels, policymakers attempt to come up with the most effective allocation strategies that can help bridge the academic performance gap. Research shows that the quality of education a school offers is closely related to the financial resources that are at their disposal (Baker). This means that if a school is unable to secure enough resources, they will not be in a position to provide the relevant facilities required for high-quality education thus affecting academic performance and consequent achievement. However, some scholars have suggested that academic achievement also depends on other issues such as learner characteristics, parental influence, race, religion, socio-economic factors, and school environment (Ushomirsky). Nevertheless, school funding remains a major issue challenging the provision of equal opportunities for all learners.
There are some strategies that can be implemented if the school funding is adequate. These strategies can help in closing the achievement gap so that all learners have equal chances in the education system irrespective of their backgrounds. One of these strategies is the reduction of the class size. Research shows that the lower the ratio of teacher-learner in a classroom, particularly for lower grades, the higher the academic performance even beyond K-3 (Ostrander). Therefore, there is need to have smaller classes in public schools so as to improve learner performance. The other one could be the improvement of teacher quality. For a teacher to be efficient, they need to undergo the relevant preparation, constant in-service training to improve ability, proper remuneration, experience and be provided with a conducive working environment (Baker). Such a teacher will be in a position to deliver quality education. However, these strategies cannot be implemented if a school does not have adequate resources.
In conclusion, it is clear that school funding is closely connected to educational outcomes. Although the policymakers both at the federal and state levels have made attempts to provide funding to school districts, it is still not enough to bridge the academic achievement gaps because the rates of graduation, college enrolment and test scores among the poor are still low. The allocation of resources to public schools has improved over time but the academic achievement gap still remains. Some of the suggestions that could probably improve matters and narrow the educational achievement gap include the reduction of class sizes and the enhancement of teacher quality in addition to other relevant resources. However, these cannot be achieved with inadequate financial resources. Therefore, school funding is an issue that requires an approach that can help address it once and for all.
Baker, Bruce D., David G. Sciarra, and Danielle Farrie. "Is school funding fair? A national report card." Education Law Center (2014).
Ostrander, Rachel R. "School funding: Inequality in district funding and the disparate impact on urban and migrant school children." BYU Educ. & LJ (2015): 271.
Ushomirsky, Natasha, and David Williams. "Funding gaps 2015: Too many states still spend less on educating students who need the most." Education Trust (2015).
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