U.S. Representative Mike Kelly participated in a press conference yesterday formally announcing his co-sponsorship of H.R. 2485, the All Children are Equal (ACE) Act, which addresses the way funding formulas are calculated under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Title I provides funds to local school districts in order to improve the education of disadvantaged students. Under the current Title 1 funding formula, there is a "number weighting" provision that takes funds away from smaller urban and rural school districts, regardless of their poverty rate, and redirects those funds to some of the largest school districts, even if those larger districts have poverty rates that are lower than the smaller districts' rates.
The ACE Act would fix this flawed number weighting provision to ensure that Title I funding is distributed more fairly and in accordance with the law's original intent. The bill also works to uphold the Equal Protection Clause under the 14thAmendment to ensure that all children are treated equally under the law, protecting children from being discriminated against because of their geographic location.
"Each year, the Third District loses over $1.75 million of Title I funds because of a discriminatory number weighting provision that systematically keeps Title I funds from reaching those students most in need," said Rep. Kelly. "For example, in the City of Erie School District, over 28 percent of the students are eligible for Title 1 funding. Yet because of the perverse effect of number weighting, Erie loses over $730,000 per school year, placing Erie in the top 25 urban districts throughout the country that lose Title I funds. This just doesn't make sense. We need to level the playing field for all students, especially for those living in poverty."
The ACE Act has broad support from a number of education reform advocates and community organizations, including Save the Children, the American Association of School Administrators, the National Alliance of Black School Educators, the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Parent Teacher Association (PTA),the Pennsylvania Association of Rural & Small Schools, and YouthBuild, USA.