No one was particularly surprised last month when a roomful of negotiators that included representatives of state, local and tribal leaders, teachers, parents, students and the civil rights community failed to reach agreement on one of the more contentious pieces of the new Every Student Succeeds Act. The issue that divided them so deeply was whether or not school districts need to make sure that schools serving children from low-income families get at least as much state and local funding as wealthier schools. Unfortunately, after three separate negotiating sessions spread over eight days, the two sides ended just about as far apart as they started.
Despite the gridlock, the Department of Education is right to tackle this problem head-on. The department has proposed something simple and powerfull – that school districts have the responsibility to make sure that the students that need the most resources actually get them and that federal funding is truly supplemental for these students.This article was originally published in U.S. News & World Report.