Today, I want to talk about the differences between adequacy and equity. At the fundamental level, adequacy is having enough funding to meet the constitutional requirement in Texas of a “general diffusion of knowledge.” However, adequacy must also be seen in the light of current standards and expectations. While funding may be adequate to ensure a general diffusion of knowledge, is there adequate funding to ensure that our students are learning at the appropriate level to meet the standards of the new STAAR test? Is there adequate funding to ensure that our students are meeting the college and career readiness standards? If the answer to these questions were “Yes”, then the funding system would be considered adequate.
A funding system can be adequate without being equitable. As we saw in the example from yesterday’s post, equity is not present in a funding system that provides more state funding for one district than another based on factors from the 05-06 school year. There is no reason to expect a student in one district to be “worth” more than a student in another district based solely on where that student lives. While it is difficult to objectively calculate adequacy, equity can be calculated precisely.
I had a great email yesterday regarding my post. The email asked what the solution to providing an equitable solution would be. Should the state take money from the better funded districts and redistribute that to the lower funded districts? Or, should the state provide additional funding to the lower funded districts to try to bring them up to the level of the other districts? This is the essence of the equity debate. How do we achieve equity in the state of Texas? Do we take money away from some or do we provide more money to others? If the districts funded at a higher level are stating that they do not have enough funding to provide an adequate education (and that is exactly what they are saying), then the answer is clear: the only solution is to add additional money to the lower funded districts in order to bring up their overall state funding.
As always, I welcome your questions or comments. Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.