The Big Lie of Unequal Funding

by James A. Bacon

The Virginia Board of Education (VBOE) has unanimously adopted a statement regarding its commitment to provide equal access to a high-quality public education.

“Systemic racism and discrimination still exist in public education, and too often, a student’s skin color or socioeconomic status predicts the quality of their educational opportunities,” says the statement. The VBOE goes on to attribute the educational achievement gap between whites and “people of color” to unequal funding.

The current system of funding for our schools, codified as the Standards of Quality, has not resulted in meaningful changes in educational outcomes. In fact, in combined effect with the previously long-standing Standards of Accreditation, segregation in our schools has increased. We have seen resources, in terms of funding and personnel, migrate to schools and localities that disproportionately served fewer students of color. The result has been a recognized achievement gap that continues to persist.

There is one big problem with this statement. There is no meaningful black-white funding gap in Virginia. The VBOE provides no statistics whatsoever to back up its statement. Repetition of a falsehood does not make it true. Here are the average annual per-pupil expenditures for school operations across the state broken down by race/ethnicity:

From a statewide perspective, there is a funding gap in Virginia, but it’s between Asians and Hispanics on the one hand and blacks and whites on the other. If the BOE had restricted its claim to the existence of a white/black funding gap, not a gap between whites and “people of color,” it would have been on firmer ground, although that gap is barely more than one-tenth of one percent. Good luck trying to explain the educational achievement gap (which is very real) on a one-tenth of one percent difference in spending.

Where the numbers come from. Here’s how I crunched the numbers. I drew upon Table 13 of the Superintendent’s Annual Report for Disbursements by Division for Fiscal 2019 as well as the enrollment numbers by race provided by the Virginia Department of Education’s Fall Membership Build-A-Table. To reduce the complexity of my presentation, I excluded American Indians, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, two or more races, and unknowns. For each locality, I applied the per-pupil expenditure for each school district to the number of children of each ethnicity.

For example, Accomack County reported a per-pupil expenditure of $10,819 for Fiscal 2019 and an enrollment of 1,915 black students. Thus, I calculated total expenditures for black students in Accomack by multiplying $10,819 times 1,915 to get $20,719,170. I replicated that calculation for whites, Asians, and Hispanics for each school district in the state.

Adjusting for Northern Virginia. Most of the statewide spending differentials can be explained by the demographics of Northern Virginia localities, which have a higher percentage of Asians and Hispanics than downstate localities. The higher expenditures reflect two main things: (1) a highly educated population in NoVa that places a high priority on K-12 schooling, and (2) the higher cost of living, which requires NoVa localities to pay higher teacher and administrator salaries. Given the differing demographics and cost of living, it makes sense to look at NoVa and RoVa separately.

Here are the downstate numbers.

Outside of Northern Virginia, spending per pupil is distributed remarkably evenly among the races. Insofar as any racial group is favored, it is African Americans at $11,592 per pupil. Insofar as any racial group is disfavored, it is whites at $11,291. The black/white gap is 2.7% — in favor of blacks!

Let me repeat for emphasis, RoVa school districts spend 2.7% more per African-American student than whites. Expenditures for Hispanics and Asians fall between the two.

The situation is a little different in Northern Virginia.

The gap between whites and Asians is minimal (about three-tenths of a percent), larger between whites and Hispanics (3.2%) and largest between whites and blacks (4.8%).

Insofar as racial disparities in per-pupil funding are caused by “systemic racism and discrimination” in Virginia, it is mostly limited to Northern Virginia, and it is not very large.

However, if we accept the logic that disparities in funding are prima facie proof of “racism and discrimination,” then it appears that the racism and discrimination in RoVa favors blacks and discriminates against whites.

There may be other ways to slice and dice the data, and I’m happy to share my spreadsheet with anyone who wants to see the data for themselves. Contact me at jabacon[@]

Bacon’s bottom line: The Virginia Board of Education statement that the racial achievement gap in Virginia can be attributed to unequal funding has no factual basis whatsoever. This is leftist dogma which, by virtue of constant repetition, people have come to accept as fact. “Repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth,” Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels famously said. As I recall, he had a few race obsessions of his own.

There are currently no comments highlighted.

63 responses to “The Big Lie of Unequal Funding

  1. So…..Nova is basically level, and RoVa is basically level, so the “statewide” disparity in that first table reflects higher Asian and Hispanic enrollments in those higher cost Northern Virginia systems?

  2. James Wyatt Whitehead V

    Mr. Bacon I believe the intention is to divert resources to the underperforming subgroups so that they will receive the most in spending per student. The subgroups that are achieving at acceptable rates will get less. That is my interpretation.

  3. Should be by poverty, not race.

    • Well, then in the end it will by race.

      • Not necessarily. For example, if you count all Blacks and Hispanics, and not economically disadvantaged Blacks and Hispanic, the number will be higher, inflating the cost per pupil. In actuality, Federal Program funds aren’t included in the total. So large districts provide more local funding to schools with less poverty, and provide less to those with poverty as the federal funds balance this out. It is illegal, supplanting with federal funds and not using funds to supplement, but is done with wisdom in how to skirt the system. Pitiful.

  4. re: ” For example, Accomack County reported a per-pupil expenditure of $10,819 for Fiscal 2019 and an enrollment of 1,915 black students. Thus, I calculated total expenditures for black students in Accomack by multiplying $10,819 times 1,915 to get $20,719,170. I replicated that calculation for whites, Asians, and Hispanics for each school district in the state.”

    I’m not understanding this. If Accomack provides a per pupil expenditure for all students in the county – how can you break that out by race?

    in order to identify funding disparities – you have to look on a school basis between schools in wealthier neighborhoods and schools in low-income neighborhoods.

    You can’t take district-wide money and allocate it by race.

    Report finds $23 billion racial funding gap for schools

    • Larry,
      You are comparing apples and oranges. The data Jim is referring to is state funding only. The report referenced in the WP article looks at state and local funding.

      • Dick – I’m not understanding how – at the state or even a district level you can determine the differences in funding for whites and minorities if you’re starting with a per pupil number from total funding.

        Do you understand?

        at any rate, if the idea is to talk about inequities in funding…
        the link I provided actually goes about this on a per school basis and shows differences in how individual schools are funded – and says there are inequities.

        can you help explain what Jim is doing?

        • The DOE data that Jim is citing is for state funds distributed to localities. That report calculates a per pupil amount received by each jurisdiction in state funding. Localities can spend more, using their own revenues, and most of them do, some more than others.

    • If you think the disparity is within school districts, not between school districts — in other words, if you think school districts are investing more money in predominantly white schools over minority schools — back it up with data. Talk is cheap. You can say anything, but you can’t back it up because spending-per-school data is not available. The only data we have is by district-level data.

      What we do know is that the federal government provides supplementary funding for poor and minority schools. My methodology doesn’t even take that into account.

      Of course, one of your favorite rhetorical tricks is to always demand more, better data and shift the burden of proof to the other guy to provide it. Here’s the thing, the Virginia Board of Education is the entity that made the claim about racism and discrimination, so it’s up to the VBOE to back up its inflammatory charges with data…. which it can’t.

      • “rhetorical tricks”. demanding more data? lord.

        All I’m “doing” is trying to understand how you did the data and perhaps I’m dense and just do not get it.

        You seem to be claiming that you’ve “proven” that the State does not discriminate on funding and I’m simply not understanding your process.

        We know that Virginia SOQ money varies depending on the composite index that measures the local ability to pay but I thought that money was solely on a per pupil basis and not on a racial basis.

        Are you saying that the state provides different per pupil funding based on race?

        – second – I actually have provided a number of links produced by the Federal Dept of Ed and others using their data that DOES SHOW funding disparities between districts AND between individual schools.

        here’s another link- and I suspect you’re ignoring them because you’re trying to prove your own premise.

        “States Are Burying Damning Data About School Funding
        You’ve heard about the funding disparities between school districts. The more hidden disparities within school districts are just as troubling.”

        there are more but multiple links here take the post to moderation purgatory!

        but please, can you explain in more detail how you’re doing the data… I just don’t understand how you’re breaking it out on a racial basis.

        • Tell me which part of this explanation you don’t understand.

          Here’s how I crunched the numbers. I drew upon Table 13 of the Superintendent’s Annual Report for Disbursements by Division for Fiscal 2019 as well as the enrollment numbers by race provided by the Virginia Department of Education’s Fall Membership Build-A-Table. To reduce the complexity of my presentation, I excluded American Indians, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, two or more races, and unknowns. For each locality, I applied the per-pupil expenditure for each school district to the number of children of each ethnicity.

          For example, Accomack County reported a per-pupil expenditure of $10,819 for Fiscal 2019 and an enrollment of 1,915 black students. Thus, I calculated total expenditures for black students in Accomack by multiplying $10,819 times 1,915 to get $20,719,170. I replicated that calculation for whites, Asians, and Hispanics for each school district in the state.

  5. But the state does not do those funds based on race… so I’m confused how Jim is making his argument on race, aka ” the big lie on unequal funding”.

    what am I missing? What’s the point of his post?

  6. re: ” For example, Accomack County reported a per-pupil expenditure of $10,819 for Fiscal 2019 and an enrollment of 1,915 black students. Thus, I calculated total expenditures for black students in Accomack by multiplying $10,819 times 1,915 to get $20,719,170. I replicated that calculation for whites, Asians, and Hispanics for each school district in the state.”

    I’m not understanding this. How do you take a per pupil spending and allocate it out differently for different race demographics.

    One would think that the $10,819 was a simple calculation of total funding divided by total enrollment.


    Also – the $10,819 is not solely from SOQ money. Most localities add local money so if you wanted to look at supposed state-only funding inequities – you’d have to delete the local funding first.

    But even then – the state funds on a per pupil enrollment basis – not on race so how does one derive different allocations based on race?

    This is not what the inequity issue is about anyhow.

    It’s what the school districts do with their funding on a per school basis and it is asserted and shown that some schools receive more resources than others – within a school district – at the school level.

    but I still don’t know what Jim is doing with the numbers… if others do, please explain.

  7. First of all, I was wrong. The data Jim is using is total spending by each school district–federal, state, and local funds. I apologize for my wrong assertion.

    Jim’s approach is simple. He takes the per pupil expenditure for each school district and multiplies that by the number of pupils in each ethnic group, as reported by each school. The results show that overall spending per student does not vary much by race. Thus, he concludes that Virginia’s spending for education is not racist.

    But the BOE did not claim that spending is racist. It claimed that “resources, in terms of funding and personnel, migrate to schools and localities that disproportionately served fewer students of color.” I am not sure about the term “migrate”, but richer localities with disproportionately fewer students of color do spend more than other, poorer localities with relatively more minority students. Here are some examples of per pupil spending:

    Falls Church–$19,324
    Richmond City–14,003

    Now, going to your point, Jim’s assumption is that each pupil, whatever his race, receives equal benefit from the expenditures of his jurisdiction. Your point is that assumption is wrong because funding within a district may be directed more toward schools that serve predominantly white student populations. You may be right, but the data, on a statewide basis, is not there to test that theory. One would have to dig into the detailed records of each school district to determine whether that is true. (Sounds like a good PhD. dissertation topic.) The BOE statement mentioned funds migrating to “schools”, as well as to localities. And, Jim is right–BOE has not presented any evidence to back up that assertion.

    However, as for the larger issue, disregarding all charges of racism, “equity” does not always mean “equal”. Equity involves distributing resources based on the needs of the recipients. A strong case can be made that students from poorer families, which includes the majority of black and Hispanic families, have more education needs than those from more well-off families. Therefore, if one measures “needs” in terms of “dollars”, then funding for education in Virginia may be equal on the basis of student ethnicity, but it is not equitable because black and Hispanic student have more need and, thus, should get significantly more funding.

    That being said, I have come to be skeptical of providing more funding for students with higher needs just for the sake of more funding. We need to determine whether the methods of using the funding that is made available are effective before adding to it. I don’t think they are effective as they should be. In the past, the state was comfortable in continuing to fund what localities had been doing for a long time. To his credit, Supt. Layne has said that the state will begin to look closely at those jurisdictions in which student scores on reading are improving to determine what those jurisdictions are doing differently, if anything, and see if those methods can be replicated elsewhere. The state needs to intensify its examination of what local schools are doing and then encourage the adoption of evidence-based practices that have been shown to work before we begin to significantly ramp up spending in those areas with poor minority student populations.

    The BOE is right in saying there is an achievement gap that is growing. But, throwing money at something that is not working is not going to fix the problem until you know what is the right way to go about fixing it.

    • “Your point is that assumption is wrong because funding within a district may be directed more toward schools that serve predominantly white student populations. You may be right, but the data, on a statewide basis, is not there to test that theory.”

      But using the data in the absence of that detail is just plain wrong. The calculations are meaningless in determining expenditure by race. Period. One district, two schools, two students, one white, one black. The district spends $10. At the district level the races get $5 each. Really?

  8. The numbers reflect the general wealth of those communities, and their commitment to education. We give a lot of lip service to education in this country, until the students and parents find out that it is actually hard work, made harder in difficult family circumstances. Providing double the money to schools in the poor localities would not solve the real problem, and cutting the money in half in the rich localities would not significantly change their outcomes. The parents and their ability and willingness to stress and reinforce educational attainment drive the outcomes. Motivated families of limited means prove that by succeeding all the time. Where those challenged school systems have great graduates (and they all do), you will find the family and some key teachers behind that outcome.

    • Truer words have never been written down:

      “The parents and their ability and willingness to stress and reinforce educational attainment drive the outcomes. Motivated families of limited means prove that by succeeding all the time. Where those challenged school systems have great graduates (and they all do), you will find the family and some key teachers behind that outcome.”

      What are we going to do and say to promote these real solutions within the parents of our students? When are we going to stop making scapegoats out of innocent bystanders to this ongoing ruination of kids in our schools and, in so doing, no longer use faux excuses to dodge real solutions to saving these kids?

      Where are our leaders here? Why do our leaders chronically dissemble, spread disinformation, and lie about children who are being abused before their noses, instead of giving those children the chance they need and deserve to succeed?

      And why do those very same leaders instead perpetuate, and by their acts and omissions, worsen schools wherein innocent kids, the great majority of kids in those classrooms, cannot learn, and so are doomed to failed lives, unless they can otherwise escape the very system our leaders have built that entraps and dooms those innocent kids.

      Will not anyone within this ongoing craven system, stand up and tell of the truth as to what’s going on?

    • So, does that mean that kids without motivated families, or probably more the case, too overwhelmed to be motivated in terms of school, are doomed and the state should do nothing to help?

      • Dick asks:
        “So, does that mean that kids without motivated families, or probably more the case, too overwhelmed to be motivated in terms of school, are doomed.”

        To short answer is yes. These kids are doomed in a great majority of cases, and it has been going on now for most of 50 years, without our denting problem, but indeed acerbating it.

        The state has played a significant roll here in promoting this problem, by destroying the family, and individuals’ sense responsibility for themselves and their children, and for other children and people, all social constructs that are critical for our children’s success. These simple facts, consequences and realities put in play by government policies have been known and documented, but ignored, since the 1960s and 1970s. Hence, our kids now reap what we have sown for decades.

        As a result, our children’s lost of family and strong supportive communities, and their values, has greatly damaged several generations of our children. This includes irreparable harm being done from their birth through the child’s sixth year, a critical, and typically irreplaceable, time for healthy childhood development, or its lack.

        This has always been the case historically, as these childhood needs are built into all humanity, each and everyone of us. Now these critical needs of all infants and young children are clearly understood, and should be appreciated, as never before by us. This is thanks to monumental advances in the research of childhood development over past 30 years, particularly over past decade. See discussion herein of books like “Becoming Human.”

        And here, Dick, the characterization you use, “without motivated families,” must include the neglect, abandonment, and outright abuse of children from birth on by those responsible for their well being. This devastates kids of all ages, but most particularly the very young.

        Too many kids now have far too little chance to succeed, even before they enter the first grade, absent great effort and luck in school. And now, far too often, the obstacles to many kid’s success pile up in public schools today, year after year, in our grievance society where no one feels truly responsible for them, and/or is in fact held responsible, much less to account. Instead these ‘responsible’ adults point their fingers every which way, except at themselves. All of us must change this shirking of responsibility, hard as it may be. Why? Because all of us deserve that change, most particularly those caught up in the problem and its horrible consequences visible all around us now, a collapsing society and culture.

        So we must attack these deep seated social problems vigorously on all fronts from birth, including calling them for what they are, and meeting them head on, in lieu of scapegoating and grievance mongering; and so we must honestly acknowledge these issues as “across the board problems” irrespective of race and skin color, which, in the real world, have little or nothing to do with the problems at hand or their solutions. This also means guaranteeing that all kids who are willing and motivated to learn must have the unfettered right, as human beings, to learn in a safe place with highly motivated and empowered teachers, in classrooms free of kids (and parents, and leaders) who otherwise make this impossible in their classrooms.

        This includes the building of a social ethic and environment that holds all parents to account. To do otherwise is a grave injustice to their kids, the parents themselves, and society generally. Most particularly it is a gross injustice to the great majority of kids (and their responsible parents) who have right to learn and earn a good education fully equal to theirs talents, motivation, and sense of responsibility to themselves and to others.

  9. Federal Title 1 money goes to low-income schools. Similarly, there is additional state aid for the same schools/students. To the extent there are more (percentage-wise) black and Hispanic students in those schools, they get more tax dollars than students in other schools. Of course, white and Asian students in Title 1 schools get more money too, while black and Hispanic students in non-Title 1 schools get less.

    Focusing on race or ethnicity, rather than economic status, creates classes that are both over- and under-inclusive at the same time.

  10. Hmm, nice number crunching, but I think the disparities are lost in the larger aggregates. The are too many schools that have achieved segregation again. Think of it as electoral votes. A Wyoming resident’s vote is something like four times yours.

    So 3 traveling salesman find themselves in a horrible storm. They decide that stopping for the night would be prudent. They pull into a small motel.
    “We like a room, please.”
    “That’ll be $30.” They each hand the clerk $10.
    Later that night, the clerk feeling guilty for overcharging the men calls the bellhop, hands him $5, and says, “Take this to room 321.”
    The bellhop realizes there’s nothing in it for him so he pockets $2 and shoves an envelope with $3 in it under the door.
    The men each paid $9 for the room, $27 in total, and the bellhop kept $2. That’s $29. What happened to the other $1?

    Larry’s right. School by school within the district is the only way to calculate the per student by race expenditures.

  11. James Wyatt Whitehead V

    Loudoun County spent $1.4 billion last year. If you examine the senior staff chart that reports to the superintendent you will find millions of dollars of salary and benefits tied up in a bureaucracy that serves itself. I believe this is where a substantial portion of extra spending per pupil is lost. Small and rural have much leaner bureaucracy.

  12. James Wyatt Whitehead V

    Here we can see a CPP comparison for Northern Virginia. Cost Per Pupil. Interesting how Prince William pays teacher better than Loudoun yet has a lower CPP than everyone else.

    Arlington $19,921
    Alexandria $18,136
    Fairfax $16,043
    Loudoun $15,241
    Prince William $11,875

  13. James Wyatt Whitehead V

    Here we can see the CPP (cost per pupil) in Loudoun as the Superintendent breaks down the numbers. The $12,000 for instruction. Don’t forget this factors in the instructional costs of very small class sizes such as Special Education, English Language Learners, Guitar Class, Mandarin Chinese, Women’s Studies, and lengthy list of small enrollment/under enrollment courses.
    If the Superintendent recalculated to show what a normal instructional cost is for the vast majority of traditional classes you would find a substantially lower figure.

    Instruction $12,847
    Operation & Maintenance $1,219
    Pupil Transportation $732
    Administration, Attendance & Health $580
    Technology $573
    Facilities $68
    Total Projected FY21 CPP $16,019

    • re: instruction costs – general then also special ed, reading help, ESL etc.

      The costs are tallied at the district level – not at the individual school level (but that data IS collected – and reported to the US Dept of ED).

      If you look at two schools – they won’t have the same exact cost numbers.

      For instance, a school with a lot of veterans will have higher salary costs that a school with newbies. A school with Title 1 teachers which have to have a Masters Degree with show different salary costs than schools without Title 1 teachers.

      Low income neighborhood schools are not the favorite job of many veteran teachers – it’s a tougher gig and if you get a bad class and it performs badly – some will consider it associated with your performance especially if the school itself comes under district level scrutiny.

      Veteran teachers with good performance evaluations often get their pick of where to teach and districts fill in the gaps with newly-recruited who also can serve as sacrificial goats in things go south.

      It’s the worse job in the world for a new teacher who is just starting to exercise and hone their skills.. it’s like being thrown to the wolves – a trial by fire.. and not surprisingly – a good number suffer.. or leave.

      The basic problem is that economically-disadvantaged kids are HARD TO TEACH. We hear of schools that demand that parents be directly involved in their kids education – that works for some – but others that are themselves poorly educated are struggling lifelong with that disability and really unable to really help their kids – like a college-educated parent could.

      So public education “fails” at this problem. We rank about 25th compared to other countries and it’s primarily because the academic performance of the economically disadvantaged is so dismal.

      Some say private schools are the answer – but most private schools want nothing to do with economically disadvantaged kids.. they are tough to teach and more expensive to teach…. and despite some rare successes like the Success Academy – most private schools actually cater to families of well-educated, high income parents – to pay the bills and provide kids who are motivated and can be easily kicked out if a problem.

      Over and over and over in BR – we focus on failure – not how to succeed.

      We got the failure part – and no it’s not about race… not about ‘bad” teachers or “bad” schools.. it’s about a failure to successfully educate economically disadvantaged kids (who have perfectly normal IQs).

      • James Wyatt Whitehead V

        “The basic problem is that economically-disadvantaged kids are HARD TO TEACH.”

        Not really Mr. Larry. 18 years ago I had Jonte, Murphy, and Antwan in Academic US History. These young men were notorious drug dealers and ran a gang of teen youths in Leesburg. I instantly grasped the simple thing that they craved. They wanted to be treated like men. So I cut those boys no slack whatsoever. I made sure that they played varsity football, varsity basketball, and track. They were up to their eyeballs in great role models and we kept them so busy they had no time for drug dealing or gang banging. Those boys, who never passed a single solitary SOL up to the 11th grade read the entire 2,000 page text book, answered 3,115 homework questions, sat right next to me the entire year, and they passed the SOL test. In fact they graduated. I had zero discipline issues in the most “sweat hog” class ever conceived. I lined up the big shots the first week of school. Anybody who fooled with Mr. Whitehead had to go thru Jonte, Murphy, and Antwan first. Sadly within in 2 years of graduation 2 were dead from drugs/gang violence and the other did a long time in prison. Still I uncovered a nice thank you note from those three boys amongst hundreds that I saved. You know what it said? Dear Mr. Whitehead you are one cool M—— F——. Signed jointly by the trio. Worth a million dollars to me. I did get thru to them. I just couldn’t be there for them after high school. The key to the whole deal was treating them like men. That is all they ever really wanted.

        • well, I have no doubt of your success – and perhaps that’s an approach but the problems start in pre-k-3 when they’re not drug dealers and sweat hogs and they need Title 1 and other additional help that kids who are not economically disadvantaged don’t need or as much.

          But perhaps they do not include kids of drug dealers who may be under educated but not economically depressed cuz they have a lucrative line of work? 😉

        • “I made sure that they played varsity football, varsity basketball, and track.”

          Stereotyping much?

          • James Wyatt Whitehead V

            All three were 1st team Dulles District athletes and they had to the grades to stay eligible you slimy jackpot.

          • Slimy jackpot?

          • James Wyatt Whitehead V

            Do you really think I am not going to punch back? The other day you made a sick comment about a 102 year WW2 hero for crying in a bucket.

          • I fear you’ve mistaken me for someone else with that one.

          • James Wyatt Whitehead V

            I don’t think so. Look let’s try this. I won’t respond to your comment you don’t respond to mine. Deal? I think the Rebellion would rather be spared from our endless feud. Your comment which elicits the 1810 Anti Dueling Act violation. I got my 102 year old (locked up tight in a nursing home) Mr. Gore a nice pin up of Lana Turner in a pretty conservative swimsuit. WW2 era vintage. He loved it. Great guy. One in a million. My personal friend and hero.
            Nancy_Naive | June 24, 2020 at 5:37 am | Reply
            “Yes, I know it’s dead, but I’m gonna beat it anyway.”
            Plus, that way you don’t need to look at what you’ve currently hitched to the wagon.

          • Nancy_Naive

            Okay, you first. Hmmm, a 5th? A veritable piker compared to Myles Standish.

          • James Wyatt Whitehead V

            Then it is agreed. I will refrain from commenting on your posts. You will refrain from commenting on my posts. Everyone is going to benefit from this. The feud is now concluded. Wishing you all the best and I sincerely mean it.

          • Nancy_Naive

            Ah ha. Mea culpable. That was a clear threading error. My comment was not in response to you, but the opinion. My humble apologies. Once googled, my error was clear.

      • Well, if you want to see an example of success, you may wish to look to the far western end of Virginia- Region VII. They have the second highest rate of poverty, the highest rate of students with disabilities, the lowest per pupil funding, the lowest salaries. Despite these challenges, they have the highest proficiency rates in math, reading, and science, and the highest rate of schools that are fully accredited by the state.

  14. If Jim is taking per pupil aggregate data from the State – which has already aggregated the data – then all you’re doing by multiplying by how many in each race in the student population is just allocating aggregate funding.

    It should not show any difference by race – at the state level.

    The data should not show any differences by race.

    And once again – if we’re going to go through exercises like this – how about adding the economically disadvantaged category also?

    Are we discriminating on funding – by economically disadvantaged?

    and because blacks have a higher percentage of economically disadvantaged – we’re confusing the two?

  15. Given who is president and from where his support comes, the system has failed the white folk even with a financial advantage.

  16. Posted on behalf of James Weigand:

    You really missed the mark on racial funding.

    To use total per pupil expenditures to try and determine spending by race is way more complicated than you suggest.

    I will give you reasons why.

    First, Basic Aid, the largest chunk of state & Local expenditures, is pretty much given to all (except NOVA divisions that have higher costs and reimbursements from the state) equally with a few minor exceptions such as transportation where the more rural divisions get a little more. See the caveat below.

    The big difference in school expenditures is in the Incentive and Categorical add-on programs such as Pre-K and At-Risk. Both of these are only eligible to those classified as Economically Disadvantage or ED.

    Here is the funding explanation for At-risk funding:

    State payments for at-risk students are disbursed to school divisions based on the estimated number of federal free lunch participants in each division to support programs for students who are educationally at-risk. Funding is provided as a percentage add-on to Basic Aid to support the additional costs of educating at-risk students.

    When you go to the school September 30 enrollments, there is a box that allow one to see how many of each race are EDs. For 2019-20, 25% of Whites were EDs and 61% of Blacks were ED. Thus more money of the total per pupil expenditures is going to the Black students. Virginians are mandated to spend nearly $200 million for At-Risk and no doubt spend more.

    The same for the Pre-K students.
    The Virginia Preschool Initiative provides funding for programs for unserved, at-risk four-year-old children, which include quality preschool education, health services, social services, parental involvement, and pupil transportation. Programs must provide full-day or half-day and, at least, school-year services. Educational services may be delivered by both public and private providers.

    4% of the states Black students attend Pre-K, only 2% of White students do. Again, more money of the total per pupil expenditures are going to the Black students. Virginians are mandated to spend $116 million for Pre-K and no doubt spend more.

    The above mentioned Basic Aid which is almost equally distributed still has a funding matrix that funds more to divisions that have additional needs such as Prevention, Intervention and Remediation, $191 million.

    SOQ Prevention, Intervention, and Remediation funding provides remedial services to children who need additional instruction. Funding is disbursed to local school divisions to support the state share of additional professional instructional positions ranging from a pupil teacher ratio of 10:1 to 18:1 (on a sliding scale) based on the division-level failure rate on the SOL English and math tests for all students at risk of educational failure (the three-year average free lunch eligibility data is used as a proxy for at risk students).

    As more and more funding is distributed to the At-Risk students who are identified as Economically Disadvantaged, more and more funding is going to the Black students than your back of the envelope calculation implied.

  17. Glad you guys figured out it is about poverty, not race.

  18. Jim and Butcher sometimes appear to use black and economically disadvantaged as the same … lot of stereotyping…

    sometimes it’s carefully worded and it’s merely implied.

    At any rate.. when they show graphs for black and white, I ask that they also include economically disadvantaged – which the schools also keep numbers on and is a selection in their build-a-table

    • Larry, most people don’t get it. But as a VDOE employee for 15 years, I traveled this state. The kids in Lee County are choosing not to graduate in order to work and put food on the table. Way different kind of motivation than joining a gang in NOVA, where undocumented folks are afraid to apply for social services. Kids in poverty have very different needs and can’t be lumped as a group. Thus, race becomes easier for lumping, but inaccurate. Glad you get it.

      • ksmith8953, now that we know your background, your voice here in BR is highly credible and hopefully you’ll continue to offer additional context and perspective to the posts that focus more on race than they probably should. Thank you!

        • 5 years with school improvement initiatives under Governor Warner and 10 years as the director of school improvement. Spent a lot of state and federal money! Thanks

  19. Mr Weigand is technically correct, but most school divisions lump remedial money in a big pool to pay for teachers. High poverty schools supposedly get lower class sizes. Then there is the Title I school wide vs program. If a school chooses Title I school wide, the funds can be spent on every child, like teachers. If they choose program, it can only be spent on economically disadvantaged children. The feds have, of course, many rules, but in the end, it can get muddy. No wonder that federal dollars haven’t been as successful as one would think over the last fifty years. Between supplanted funds and fed rules, it is what it is – less than expected.

    On the other hand, we expect equitable education for all, not some, in public schools.

  20. school divisions get the dollars from various pots of money but how they distribute that money to the schools in their district may or may not be done on an equitable basis with regard to at-risk/economically-disadvantaged kids especially if the individual schools break out into schools in wealthier neighborhoods and schools in low-income neighborhoods.

    Additionally, locally-sourced money can end up also not necessarily being distributed equitably.

    Yes – more money is supposed to be directed to the education of kids who are disadvantaged through their circumstances of which they have no choice in themselves. They are no different than children born to wealthier parents and BOTH of them deserve an education that fits their circumstances – just like in a wealthier school, if Johnny has a reading disability – he gets additional help or Mary has English as a second language, she gets additional help. Whether or not Johnny or Mary actually get additional help or not – determined by what neighborhood school they are in – is unfortunately a reality and we can see it in academic performance results – that have almost nothing to do with race and almost everything to do with the life-circumstances the child in born into.

    We can blame the parents – and we do – but what justifies dooming the child because they were born into disadvantaged circumstances and actually have the same potential of kids born into better circumstances?

    Instead – we play this game about race… which I simply do not understand the motives for it… Kids born into a economically disadvantaged home deserve to get the help they need to attain their potential – and really to escape the cycle they were born into.

    We owe that to every child – that’s the end goal of “public education”.

    • Disadvantaged kids — more, more, more!

      We spend a lot more money on economically disadvantaged kids. They get extra federal money under Title 1. The Commonwealth appropriates extra money on the same schools and students. The last time I looked, Fairfax County was spending at least extra cents on the real estate tax for the same schools and students (say at least $50 million). They have much smaller classes. They have access to extra math and reading teachers. Some schools have additional psychologists and counselors. Low-income schools have outreach programs for low-income families.

      When does personal responsibility come into the picture? But then again, the progressives have totally stood by Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey when he failed to identify and remove bad cops like Chauvin and Thao. There is no personal responsibility required unless you pay taxes.

  21. RE: personal responsibility.

    of who? the kids ? the parents if the parents themselves are poorly educated ? One parent families where the sole parent works and barely makes minimum wage?

    Do we blame the kids or the parents for being under-educated and low income?

    Why would we doom a child educationally for committing no sin beyond being born in the wrong circumstances?

    Every child that we DO successfully educate – can grow up – and have kids of their own – who will not need those extra services.. one less child needing more ….

    conservsely, every child we fail at this – will grow up becoming an entitlement taker – funded by taxpayers.

    take your choice. pay me now or pay me later but you can’t opt out.

    • Like it or not, not every kid will make it just like not every kid will be a good singer or athlete or writer. We make extra resources available and must expect cooperation with the programs. Many kids will do so; but others will not. The latter might just function on the edges. I’m very comfortable with that. So long as we have devoted the extra resources and attempted to work with the kids and their parent/guardian, I’m satisfied that society has fulfilled its side of the social contract. No Child Left Behind is GOP virtue signaling.

      Will some go to prison? Will some use drugs? Will some use alcohol? Will some lead marginal lives? Society cannot fix all this and has no obligation to ensure success. Once we have made substantial effort (and we do), sometimes the chips need to fall where they may.

      What if Calvin’s doctrine of double predestination is correct? I don’t really believe in it but a lot of people do and have.

      • totally true TMT – and as long as that happens no matter whether you are from a wealthy or a poor family – it’s just life.

        My problem is when kids of economically disadvantaged circumstances come out worse than those of better economic circumstances.

        That’s when how we educate interferes in the “life happens” equation.

        All things considered – the percentage of those who “don’t make it” academically should not vary by economic status – but it does.

        Every kid deserves an equal chance at a life opportunity – on their own without being penalized because of their economic circumstances or parental education status.

        We end up paying for the ones that fail… that’s the simple fact.

        We want that number to be as small as possible. Every penny we spend on successful education is worth 10 times as much in tax-payer funded entitlements.

  22. From the VDOE, for 2017 on the average the commonwealth’s contribution of $6.57 B to local school districts made up 45% of their total funding. These local districts then added another $8.02 B. Anyone that reads their local paper or listens to local news knows that there are large differences in funding of schools by the municipalities. This is in large part driven by their property tax base and associated assessment rate. As expected, the averages that Jim is using tend to smooth these differences out when in actual fact the range could be quite large. So just maybe the “lie” is not as big as Jim feels that it is and is more of an over-emphasis.

  23. Funding is based on the local ability to pay formula configured mostly on property values. It is complicated formula. It doesn’t necessarily consider places like Portsmouth who have no tax base as they are land locked by federal property, this they have little proper left to “value”. As to the above statement regarding poverty— I don’t know anyone that wishes to be poor???????????

  24. Most of Portsmouth is shipyards. Shipyards employ people whose children do not attend Portsmouth schools. You only get the impact aid from residents.

  25. Fascinating how the numbers come out. I think you made a slight error in your downstate analysis, in that Asians have the lowest. But these are trivial differences.

Leave a Reply