Many Children Left Behind

Last Updated: April 15, 2009

By Marty Strange, Jerry Johnson, and Ashton Finical

Many Children Left Behind

Report PDF (607 KB)

Federal funds to help local school districts meet the needs of disadvantaged children, primarily those who live in poverty, are distributed through four formulas established in Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, also known as No Child Left Behind. Beginning in 2002, two of these formulas included "weighting" systems intended to send more funding for each eligible student to high-poverty districts. Under these weighting systems, the higher the number or percentage of Title I eligible students in a district, the more money per eligible student the district gets.

Many Children Left Behind presents analysis of the distribution of Title I funds in Pennsylvania showing the unintended consequences of these weighting systems. A very few large districts benefit from the weighting systems, but most districts of all sizes with high percentages of eligible students get far less money per eligible student. This study was performed by the Rural School and Community Trust which is solely responsible for its content. Funding support for the study was provided by the Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools and the Pennsylvania Association of Federal Program Coordinators, each of which may or may not agree with the findings and conclusions.