So goes the battle cry. Particularly now that it’s election season. Candidates opine about the good old days before the United States Department of Education (USDOE) existed. Candidates enlighten us with how we Alabamians would be so much better off if we could just determine our own education policies and not have to listen to what those outsiders in D.C. think our kids oughta know.
And the crowd laps it up.
What would it mean to our school district coffers if we just kicked the feds out and let ’em take their/our money with them?
Heck, it’s only half a billion dollars.
What good does that money do us anyway? How much of our school district budgets could that possibly be? (Scroll down if you can’t wait for the Map.)
What would it look like if the Title I programs disappeared? You know, those programs that funnel additional money to school districts who are serving children in poverty. Just a paltry $200+ million.
What would it look like if the money funneled through the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA) evaporated? That’s only $190+ million.
Fortunately, the U.S. Department of Agriculture funds the Child Nutrition Program or those same folks would likely be removing lunchrooms from schools as well.
Here’s a look at the categories and amounts for which Alabama receives federal funding:
No, I doubt seriously that the candidates wanting to kick the feds out and abolish the USDOE want the feds to take that money with them. Cause those same candidates are the ones saying there’s no way they’d support a tax increase.
But I’m not convinced those candidates and the folks they’re talking to understand how much money is actually funneled through the federal government and into our schools in Alabama.
That’s why I thought it would be worth a look.
This map looks at the percentage of total per pupil expenditures (PPE) paid from federal funds for FY13 for each of Alabama’s school districts. Click on the district for more information.
Whenever I see a map shaded this way, I can’t help but get a sense of deja vu.
What would our schools look like, how would they function without those federal dollars?
I’m not suggesting that it couldn’t be done. But you can’t just suck away half a billion dollars without some kind of a plan, right?