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There Are Big Funding Gaps Affecting High-Poverty Schools. Can Biden Close Them?

The part of President Joe Biden’s proposed education budget with the most potential to break new ground might be the pitch for new “equity grants” to change how education funding works nationwide. It’s an ambitious proposal that highlights longstanding concerns that disadvantaged students often don’t get the resources they need and deserve.

But a variety of challenges, from the political to the practical, might mean it never gets off the ground.

Quick refresher: In its fiscal 2022 budget blueprint from the end of May, the Biden administration proposed “Title I equity grants” totaling $20 billion targeted at high-poverty school districts that would build on, but be separate from, the $16.5 billion Title I program for disadvantanged students. Perhaps the most ambitious or eye-catching of the grant’s four priorities is to get states to change their own K-12 funding formulas if they want to benefit from future increases in the program. The plan would also require them to publish per-pupil spending data that would expose spending disparities between schools and districts.

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