When we talk about equitable funding, I think it is difficult to pinpoint exactly the cause for where the system fails. For example, I can think of three different schools within my system that are funded in three different ways. The local high school in my neighborhood is a traditional 9-12 high school. From my understanding, it gets the usual funding allocated by our system. My school is a magnet high school that offers special career major programs. I believe our school gets the usual funds, plus additional funds for our magnet programs. Another less performing high school in the system gets the usual allocated funds plus additional funding for improvement.
If you examine these schools in terms of technology resources, you will see that the traditional high school has some technology, the magnet school has a wealth of technology, and the school working towards improvement has the latest technology. The amount of technology correlates with the funding available to the school and the school’s interest in utilizing new technology.
The underlying question is “Why are these three schools funded so differently?” considering they are in close proximity. The reason could be that there are variety of funding streams available to schools depending on their needs and programs. Is it equitable? Yes, no, maybe? Special programs like career major programs do need additional funds in order to truly provide students with the preparation and experience related to a specific career. Struggling schools also need extra funds to implement new strategies to make changes for improvement. In contrast, I can also see how a traditional, appropriately performing high school could also benefit from the extra funds that other schools can access.