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Funding of school districts with relatively high populations of black students

Op-ed Piece

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Education stakeholders have used descriptors of poverty and race as if they were synonymous. This ‘synchronization’ of identities is particularly evident for black and poor students. We define ‘synchronization’ as a policy threat that emerges when policymakers conflate two marginalized identities, resulting in policies that ostensibly, but not actually, address biased structures. From this construct, we posit two claims: (1) largely poor districts are not largely black districts and (2) dollars appropriated to largely poor districts are not equivalent to dollars appropriated to largely black districts. Our analysis supports those claims. We also found that higher correlations between portion poor and portion black do not lessen the negative impact of synchronization for the collective as one would have expected. While funding and poverty were significantly associated, there was no significant association between funding and portions of black students even when poverty and black student profile were significantly linked.

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