cost and need. However, it appears that the object of analysis is school districts rather than districts weighted for student population, and no weight for English Language Learners (ELL) was included. These are important factors in Nevada given the wide variations in district size and large numbers of ELLs. How would Nevada rank if these factors were included? Recently, an equity analysis addressed this question, and provided population-weighted statistics by district, with adjustments for student needs (including ELLs, low income and special education) and sparsity

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SOC-220 Social Problems Within Education Worksheet On a separate Word document, citing one to three scholarly sources from the GCU library, answer the following prompts: Describe some social problems within educational institutions (75-100 words). Explain how social problems within social institutions (on micro and macro levels) have perpetuated or affected the social problem you selected (200-250 words). Use the GCU library and identify an actual solution to the social problems within education. Summarize the solution you identified and compare it to historical solutions proposed in the past (150-200 words). References © 2021. Grand Canyon University. All Rights Reserved. education policy analysis archives A peer-reviewed, independent, open access, multilingual journal epaa aape Arizona State University Volume 23 Number 41 April 6th, 2015 ISSN 1068-2341 On Doing an Analysis of Equity and Closing the Opportunity Gap Deborah A. Verstegen1 University of Nevada, Reno United States Citation: Verstegen, D. (2015). On doing an analysis of equity and closing the opportunity gap. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 23(41). Abstract: Is public education equitable and does it provide an equal opportunity to all children and youths? Equity in public school funding is a critical issue facing all communities and has been addressed by the courts in all but five states. A key focus is on funding gaps between rich and poor school districts. Recently, attention has turned to the relationship between funding gaps and the opportunity gaps that have real and important impacts on student outcomes. This research provides a comprehensive analysis of equity in a western state of the U.S.A. Fifteen quantitative statistics, weighted for high-cost students, sparsity, district population, and the cost of education, are calculated and discussed. It was found that there are large opportunity gaps among school districts and they are linked to local wealth. This makes the quality of education a function of wealth that abridges equal opportunities to learn and to be successful, for children and youth in schools and classrooms. Implications for closing the opportunity gap are discussed in the final section. Keywords: finance, policy, public schools, K-12, equity, equal opportunity, elementary, secondary, constitution, legislature, education 1 The author wishes to thank the four anonymous reviewers for comments on the manuscript. Journal website: Facebook: /EPAAA Twitter: @epaa_aape Manuscript received: 9/7/2014 Revisions received: 3/14/2015 Accepted: 3/14/2015 Education Policy Analysis Archives Vol. 23 No. 41 Haciendo un Análisis de la Equidad y Achicando la Brecha de Oportunidades Resumen: ¿Es la educación pública equitativa y da igualdad de oportunidades a todos los niños y jóvenes? Esta investigación aborda estas cuestiones mediante el examen de las desigualdades en el financiamiento entre distritos escolares más y menos ricos. Equidad en el financiamiento de las escuelas públicas es un tema crítico que enfrentan todas las comunidades y ha sido abordado por los tribunales en todos los estados excepto cinco. La atención se concentrará en las brechas de financiamiento entre los distritos escolares ricos y pobres. Recientemente, se ha prestado atención a la relación entre los déficit de financiamiento y las brechas de oportunidades que tienen efectos reales e importantes en los resultados de los estudiantes. Esta investigación ofrece un análisis exhaustivo de las disparidades en un estado de la región occidente de EE.UU. Quince estadísticas cuantitativas, ponderadas para estudiantes de alto costo, escasez, población del distrito, y el costo de la educación, se calcularon y se discuten. Se encontró que existen grandes diferencias de oportunidades entre los distritos escolares que están vinculados a la riqueza local. Esto hace que la calidad de la educación sea función de la riqueza local lo que implica la reducción de igualdad de oportunidades para aprender y tener éxito, para niños y jóvenes en las escuelas y en las aulas. Implicaciones para el cierre de la brecha de oportunidades se discuten en la sección final. Palabras clave: finanzas, la política, las escuelas públicas, K-12, de equidad, de igualdad de oportunidades, de primaria, secundaria, constitución, promulgación de la educación Fazendo uma Análise da Equidade e Reduzindo a Diferencias das Desigualdades de Oportunidades Resumo: É a educação pública equitativa e dá oportunidades iguais a todas as crianças e jovens? Esta pesquisa aborda estas questões, analisando as desigualdades no financiamento das escolsa de distritos mais e menos ricos. Equidade no financiamento das escolas públicas é uma questão crítica voltada para todas as comunidades e foi abordada pelos tribunais em todos os estados menos cinco. O foco será sobre a diferencias deo financiamento entre os distritos escolares ricos e pobres. Recentemente, a atenção tem sido dada à relação entre as diferencias de financiamento e da insuficiência de oportunidades que têm impacto real e significativo sobre os resultados dos alunos. Esta pesquisa fornece uma análise global das disparidades em um estado da região ocidental dos EUA Quinze estatísticas quantitativas, ponderados para estudantes de alto custo, a escassez, a população do distrito, e o custo da educação, foram calculados e discutidos. Descobrimos que há grandes diferenças de oportunidades entre os distritos escolares que estão ligadas a riqueza local. Isso faz com que a qualidade da educação é uma função da redução da riqueza o que implica a igualdade de oportunidades locais para aprender e ter sucesso, para crianças e jovens nas escolas e salas de aula. Implicações para fechar a lacuna oportunidade serão discutidos na seção final. Palavras-chave: finanças, política, as escolas públicas, K-12, justiça, igualdade de oportunidades, primário, secundário, constituição, promulgação da educação In the American system of government, authority for education rests with the states. Each state’s constitution addresses the role of government in education, although the U.S. Constitution is silent on education. In Nevada, a Western state, the Constitution says that: “… the legislature shall provide for a uniform system of common schools…” (Art. 11, section 2, 1938); and “the legislature shall encourage by all suitable means the promotion of intellectual, literary, scientific, mining, mechanical, agricultural, and moral improvements…” (Art. 11, Section 1, 1955). Although the constitutionality of the Nevada system of public education finance has not been adjudicated in the courts, all but five states have had funding challenges to the equity and adequacy of their education finance system. 2 On Doing an Analysis of Equity and Closing the Opportunity Gap 3 This raises a key question. Is financial support in Nevada uniform and reasonably equitable as required by the education article of the state constitution? This research addresses that question. First, equity is discussed, its evolution in theory and key principles are detailed; then research studies are reviewed and the Nevada funding system is examined. Next, the method for doing an analysis of equity is specified with attention to research and best practice. The study findings follow. The final section contains a discussion with recommendations for closing opportunity gaps and improving the education finance system for the future. Equity: Its Evolution and Principles Equity is a long held and widely affirmed principle of the American system of government, including public education (Brimley, Verstegen, & Garfield, 2016). One the nation’s founders, Thomas Jefferson, explained in a letter to John Adams on October 28, 1813, when he said: “We want a system built on a natural aristocracy, based on virtue and talent, not an artificial aristocracy, built on inheritance and wealth” (cited in Verstegen & Driscoll, 2008).2 At that time, the wealthy in Europe were able to purchase a quality education for their children that proved crucial in securing a job and being successful later in life. Jefferson reasoned that education was the key equalizer and focal point of equal opportunity; he proposed the first system of education at public expense, in the Virginia Bill for the General Diffusion of Knowledge. Providing free universal public education for all was championed by Jefferson because, Worth and genius would thus have been sought out from every condition of life, and completely prepared by education for defeating the competition of wealth and birth for public trusts. (Jefferson 1787, in Cappon, 1971, p. 342) The vision was that all children would have equal opportunities to learn; only their own hard work and motivation would hold them back or secure success – certainly not a government that would give some children more and better chances while consigning others to fewer opportunities simply because they were born into poverty and lacked parental resources to purchase quality schooling. This vision of equal opportunity became the foundation of the American system of schooling. The vision of equity espoused by Jefferson is embedded into the first of three principles that have come define it: horizontal equity. It holds that all children similarly situated should be treated the same. In education, a pupil in a classroom should receive the same opportunity as any other child. Jefferson believed that a child was born with a certain nature and the role of the school would be to discover or select those that had received superior gifts. Thus, “education could improve on the nature of man, or the failure to provide an education could deny such improvement, but education could not create these abilities or talents.” (Jefferson, 1787, in Koch & Penden, 1944). Almost a century later, John Dewy took issue with this vision of equity and inverted the Jeffersonian argument of providing an equal opportunity by treating all individuals similarly. According to Dewey, to grant all individuals the same opportunity was “to perpetuate the inequalities of the past” (as cited by Brick, 2008, p. 8). Dewey recognized nurture and environmental influences on learning as more decisive than innate gifts. These influences would continue to favor the children of the wealthy rather than foster equity unless redressed by government (Brick, 2008). According to Dewey’s (1944/1916) vision of equity, equal educational opportunity implied governments not only would provide access to learning but also compensate for the differences on basis of environmental inequality. This concept is incorporated into the second principle of equity, vertical equity, which holds that children in dissimilar circumstances can be treated differently but only for legitimate and justifiable reasons. This was later given voice by John Rawls (1971) in A Theory of 2 This section draws on and revises that work. Education Policy Analysis Archives Vol. 23 No. 41 4 Justice through what he called the Difference Principle. It held there should be no differences between individuals unless they favor the less fortunate. According to Rawls (1971): All social primary goods – liberty and opportunity, income and wealth, and the basis of self-respect – are to be distributed equally unless an unequal distribution of any or all of these good is to the advantage of the least favored. (p. 303) The third principle of equity, equal opportunity, is defined by wealth neutrality, a negative principle. It holds that the quality of a child’s education should not be a function of wealth other than the wealth of the state as a whole. It is intended to provide a fair competition and equitable resources for children regardless of their family’s circumstances – a point that was underscored at the founding of the nation. Equity Studies Overtime, equity studies of state public education finance systems have been performed although the methodology has been varied, with few studies incorporating the key principles of equity as a guide. Studies of Nevada education finance have also used various methods and mixed findings have resulted. Augenblick, Palaich, and Associates (2006) performed an adequacy study of Nevada’s school finance system that contained a brief review of equity in the final chapter of the report. Descriptive statistics were calculated, together with the coefficient of variation, for actual spending and spending adjusted for weighted students, with and without a “Location Cost Metric” (LCM). The LCM adjusted funding for differences in the cost of living between school districts. Findings indicated that the coefficient of variation was poor (0.473) for actual student spending but dropped (0.235) for weighted students and (0.283) for weighted students when the Location Cost Metric was added to the analysis. The analysis deleted districts with 5% to 10 % of the students, which, the authors stated, makes the system “appear to be almost perfect with a [very low] coefficient of variation” (.031) (Augenblick, Palaich, & Associates, 2006, p. 106). Because of the deletion of the smaller, wealthy districts, containing 5% to 10% of students, questions remain concerning the equity of the finance system for all school children in Nevada. Baker, Sciarra, and Farrie (2012), in “Is School Funding Fair? A National Report Card,” graded the states in four areas: Funding level, funding distribution, state effort and coverage. The category, funding distribution, examined school funding in relation to poverty concentrations with adjustments for regional wage variations and district size/density. Although the data lag considerably, the study provided important information on support for students in poverty. Nevada was the only state to receive an “F” on funding distribution in both years of the report. However, questions persist about the equity of the system for all students. Another 50-state review, by Editorial Projects in Education (2013), graded the states on finances including equity, using four statistical measures: the restricted range, coefficient of variation, McLoone Index and wealth neutrality. Funding for students with disabilities and low income was to acknowledge higher costs (additional 90%, 20%, respectively) and regional differences in the cost of education were included. Nevada’s grade was a “D” with only one state below it that received a D(Idaho). The analysis is useful and includes several measures of equity together with important adjustments for cost and need. However, it appears that the object of analysis is school districts rather than districts weighted for student population, and no weight for English Language Learners (ELL) was included. These are important factors in Nevada given the wide variations in district size and large numbers of ELLs. How would Nevada rank if these factors were included? Recently, an equity analysis addressed this question, and provided population-weighted statistics by district, with adjustments for student needs (including ELLs, low income and special education) and sparsity. It found high inequity in the system that was linked to local ability-to-pay for schooling, thus compromising equity for the state’s nearly half a million public school students On Doing an Analysis of Equity and Closing the Opportunity Gap 5 (Verstegen, 2013). However, the study did not employ a cost-of-education factor, which is needed, given the high diversity of the state. This research builds on that study by providing a comprehensive analysis of equity, which employs a cost of education factor in addition to population and need weighted adjustments to state and local funding for public education. Nevada State School Finance System The system for funding elementary and secondary education in Nevada is called the Nevada Plan. It is a foundation program with adjustments for size, wealth and transportation (Legislative Counsel Bureau, 2011). Over 90% of the states finance education using a foundation program. A per pupil funding guarantee, referred to as ‘basic aid’ ($5,192 per pupil) in Nevada, is provided by the state. Localities contribute to this amount through uniform taxes. Wealthy school districts raise more funds and less affluent school districts raise less. The state makes up the difference in locally raised funds and the state guarantee. State aid is provided through Nevada’s Distributive School Account (DSA); local sources include a property tax (.025 per $100 assessed value of property) and 2.25% sales tax, also called the Local School Support Tax (LSST). Special student needs are recognized through supplementary funding for special education, based on a provision added in 1973, but there is no additional state assistance for children that are low income, ELLs or gifted and talented. Several funds are added to basic aid including local ad valorem taxes (property tax) at 50 cents per $100 assessed value of property, motor vehicle privilege tax, unrestricted federal revenues, adult high school diploma funding and miscellaneous revenues. Capital outlay is locally funded. Nevada is highly diverse. It has 17 school districts with boundaries coterminous with county lines that vary in size from over 300,000 students in Clark County, which contains Las Vegas, to fewer than 70 students in Esmeralda. Of the nearly 440,000 students, 48% are low income (eligible for federal free or reduced price lunches), 20% are Limited English Proficient, and 11% are in special education. Esmeralda and Pershing County have over 60% low income students. Esmeralda and Clark County (with Las Vegas) also have high percentages of the student population that are ELL. Mineral, Nye and Storey County have large populations of special education students – well over the 12% national average (Nevada Report Card, 2010-11).3 Total state support of school districts and charter schools is $2.505 billion (Legislative Counsel Bureau [LCB], 2011). Funding is derived from the state General Fund, comprised mainly of state gaming taxes (23.6%) and sales and use taxes (28.3%). Over half of general fund expenditures is directed to education, including the Nevada system of higher education (15.3%) and K12 public schools (37.5%) (LCB, 2011). Nevada’s average funding per pupil from all sources is $7,946, well below the national average of $11,305 (National Education Association [NEA], 2011). Total funding for elementary and secondary education is drawn from federal (8.0%), state (34.2%), and local funding (57.8%) (NEA Research, 2013). This compares to the national average of 11.3%, 45.5% and 43.2% for federal, state and local funds, respectively, indicating that state support is lower than average in Nevada and well below the 50% recommended by experts. Table 1 shows district funding allocations for special populations and by allocation category: instruction, instructional support, operations and leadership. Note that all districts devote about 60% or more to instruction, except Esmeralda (48.8%), a small and isolated district in the Southwestern portion of the state, where operations account for a higher (41.6%) than average Only special education was funded at the time this research was performed. Recently the legislature funded English Language Learners and full day kindergarten for low income students. 3 Education Policy Analysis Archives Vol. 23 No. 41 6 (21.4%) portion of funding, likely for fixed costs and transportation that is used to take students to the next county for high school. Operations funding is also high in Eureka (24.2%) but relatively low in Washoe County, containing Reno (17.8%), and Carson City (17.2%). Leadership funding is varied; Clark County spends about 7.3% on …
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