The Curious Case of the Missing Tail: Trends Among the Top 1% of School Districts in the United States, 2000–2015

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Abstract

This article investigates trends in the relative wealth of the richest school districts in the United States between 2000 and 2015. For the purposes of discussion, I focus on the top 1% of districts. I argue that trends in school funding for the richest districts deserve greater attention from education researchers. Districts in the top 1% of the cost-adjusted, national school funding distribution are disproportionately suburban, affluent, and White. The relative wealth of these districts increased sharply (31.59%) between 2000 and 2015. Disaggregating these trends reveals large variation between states. Nevertheless, resource concentration in the top percentile of school districts increased in a large majority of states. These findings cannot be explained by efforts to provide additional educational resources to students with the greatest needs, and they suggest the ways in which the concentration of affluence accompanying growing economic inequality may be changing school funding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)312-320
Number of pages9
JournalEducational Researcher
Volume49
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education

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