U.S. Representatives Glenn `GT' Thompson (R-PA) and Louise Slaughter (D-NY) today introduced H.R. 2658, the All Children Are Equal (ACE) Act. The bipartisan bill will correct a gross inequity in the way grant formulas are calculated under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).
"Title I was designed to help provide financial assistance to school districts with high percentages of children from low-income families. Unfortunately the current formula places lower populated school districts at a distinct disadvantage, regardless of how great their concentration of poverty," stated Rep. Thompson. "This bipartisan bill we have introduced is a level headed and equitable approach to curbing this discriminatory flaw."
"It will be hard for any Member of Congress to, in good conscience, oppose this commonsense change and deny children from being treated equally under the law," Rep. Thompson added. "I am proud to have Representative Louise Slaughter join me, along with other bipartisan cosponsors, in the effort to correct this injustice."
"Though written with the best intentions, the current federal school funding formula treats students in countless school districts across the country unequally and it needs to be fixed," Rep. Slaughter said. "This formula shortchanges children in Rochester and other communities in upstate New York, and the result is fewer books, more crowded classes, and a diminished education for our children and our neighbors' children."
The largest source of federal education assistance, Title I of ESEA distributes funds to local education agencies (LEAs) and schools with high numbers or high percentages of children from low-income families, in order to combat the effects of poverty upon student achievement.
Under current law, the Targeted and Education Incentive Finance Grants, under Title I, Part A of the ESEA have a weighting system applied to the formula, which has the perverse effect of diverting funding from higher poverty school districts to more populous school districts, regardless of their overall percentage of poverty.
The ACE Act would gradually decrease the effects of number weighting and return the focus to those LEAs with the highest concentration of poverty, as originally intended under the law.
The bill is supported by a wide-range of bipartisan advocacy groups, including the American Association of School Administrators, the American Farm Bureau, the National Association of Black School Educators, the Parent Teacher Association (PTA), and Save the Children.
In addition to Reps. Thompson and Slaughter, Reps. Richard Hanna (R-NY), Michael Michaud (D-ME), Mike Kelly (R-PA), Paul Tonko (D-NY), and Lou Barletta (R-PA) are original cosponsors of the ACE Act.