Over the years, the national government has increased its spending on the multiple services that have skyrocketed. Educational financing, and specifically funding from the national government is a controversial issue in the United States of America. Federal governments play a big role in funding educational programs all over the country as it has more financial capability than states and local administrations. Even though the involvement of national government in funding education is highly opposed, many people support the practice. However, for the education system to function as intended, all the three levels of the government should be responsible to ensure that the citizens reap maximum benefits from it. Few legislatures are linked to educational funding but the most popular one is the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). It contains provisions that describe how schools should be funded and the criteria they should meet to be financed by the national government. For instance, it requires that schools should conduct AYP after every two years, failure to which they can be sanctioned. This paper will summarize readings on the concept of school funding by the government, federal expenditures, ESEA, and an example of a study that explored financial survival strategies in Texas.
Increased Government Services and Future of Federal Aid
Understanding the viewpoint of government services which has been talked about in the country for years assists in comprehending the reason behind extended financial support on education by the government. Formally, upholding law and order was the generally acknowledged role of the government. However, the changes in the social, economic, and political structures in the U.S over the years has expounded the role of the government in terms of the services it offers. Due to potential dangers of the increase in the number of services, it is crucial to determine how each level of government should play a role in service provision so as to offer the most benefits on a large population. Since education offers wide externalities it is justifiable that only the federal government and not the state or local governments are capable of investing in it. The national government funding on education is not likely to stop as it has persisted for years. Most people support the federal government’s involvement in education. However, all the three levels of government should have a role in educational programs for the system to achieve its goals and help the citizens for long.
The future of federal aid to education
The following predictions have been made about the future of the federal government’s participation in education:
- Changing leaders in all the forms of government influence the national government which may change its participation in the education system.
- The central responsibility may be bestowed upon few federal educational agencies if the implementation of federal programs was to be made orderly.
- Financial programs by the national government should not be expounded to a point where they control education.
- More support on educational programs is guaranteed as long as the national government is the biggest tax collector.
Federal interest in education: federal expenditures
A budget of $59.2 billion is allocated to the Department of Education and the money spent on all the levels of education. It is also important to note that the state and local governments are primarily responsible for education and the education sector’s budget accounts for only a small part of the overall national spending and the total federal budget. Over the years, the support on education by the federal government has managed the country’s demands or stemmed from a crisis. In the recent past, the Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) has helped state and district schools to receive funding of approximately $100 billion on educational programs. During President Obama’s tenure, a total budget of $77.8 billion was suggested for education in the fiscal year 2011. The various programs and themes included in the budget were:
- $500 million for Educational innovation promotion
- $450 million for literacy learning and efficient teaching
- $300 million on science and technology
- $265 million on educational arts, foreign languages, and civics
- $210 million for initiatives such as promoting learners’ success and promise neighborhoods projects in poor communities to support education.
- $14.5 billion to help the underperforming schools to improve and support other programs including ESEA and CCR.
The spending on education sector was projected to grow by $3 billion above the 2010’s budget. What is more, it has increased by $4.3 since 2009. The federal government gives 10 or more of the total educational funds to 22 states and 5 percent or less to two states. Together with the stimulus funds, the national government funded 10.2 percent of the overall educational expenses in 2010.
The Elementary and Secondary Education Act
The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), adopted in 1965, was re-authorized in 2001 and the short title of the No Child Left behind Act was given. Children from economically deprived backgrounds should be educated by the national government as per Title 1, Part A of the provision. Basic, targeted, concentration, and education finance are the four criteria provided in Title 1 of ESEA to distribute funds to schools. “Underlying structure” is used for each formula to determine the funding. Based on the legislature, states are supposed to employ highly skilled qualified teachers and their schools should have high performance. Besides, the Act requires schools to implement programs such as improvement and corrective action to be allocated the education funds. In addition, examination results must be availed to the school districts before the academic year begins and states should be involved in NAEP after every two years. Adequate yearly progress (AYP) is necessary whereby test results are provided to parents through report cards that contain academic performance by race, gender, disability, English mastery, and economic status. Sanctions are imposed on schools that fail to conduct AYP for two or more following years.
Superintendent Perspectives of Financial Survival Strategies in Small School Districts
Purpose and research questions
The main intention of the study was to determine to work financial management and fiscal efficiency practices that superintendents in Texas school districts utilize. The research questions were based on the nature of the region’s financial background, the management techniques that superintendents applied to uphold the district financial health and how they involved the stakeholders.
The study utilized a qualitative, narrative technique on a concept that aimed at determining the experiences of 7 school superintendents about finance. Interviews with the participants were carried out for two months. PEIMS data was used to identify the superintendents if they had worked in the district. Six of the superintendents chosen were male and one was female. For data collection and analysis, the researcher used the six-step method for a phenomenological study. The first involved the researcher giving an account of individual experiences with the phenomenon, then pulling statements from the superintendents, and grouping the testimonials. The fourth stage involved categorizing the statements as meaning units and themes then developing a textual description of the superintendents’ experiences and finally a structural description.
The findings revealed that Texas lacked business or industry and the state had an inequitable system of funding. Permitting out-of-school transfers, increased efficiency in personnel, a well-structured funding system, and minimal utilization of energy were some of the strategies that the superintendents were using to maintain the district’s financial well-being. The results also revealed that it was important to engage stakeholders such as board members, administrators, parents, teachers, and community members in making district financial decisions.
Overall, the federal government funds a wide range of services since it has more capacity compared to the governments in lower levels such as the states and districts. Educational funding by the national government is supported by many people in the United States of America. However, every level of government should take part in promoting education by funding educational programs as they help the overall society. In 2011, the budget proposal for education sector was $59.2 billion by Obama’s administration. ESEA is one of the legislatures that largely supports educational funding. Through the Act, children from poor backgrounds receive educational support. On the other hand, the provision enables school both at district and at national levels to receive money if they meet the law’s requirements.