In 1957, Central High School was “ground zero” for a pivotal moment in United States history. That was where Republican President Eisenhower sent in troops to protect the 9 African American students as they integrated into the formerly “white” school. This was 50 years ago, but the current educational system has funding based on efforts from desegregation.
In North Hollywood, Walter Reed Middle School, has funds being pulled away from it for being too white. The question is ”How white is too white?” Los Angeles Unified School District distributes more funding to schools where the population of white students is below 30 percent. This amount is not a majority of white students being present in the school, in fact, that is not even a third of the population of the students being white, before funding is slashed.
The effects of the funding being cut include faculty layoffs and increases in class sizes. This is punishing the students, because in a class of 30, you will have 10 white kids. This is not a reflection of the academic drive students have, attendance, test scores, family mean income, financial aid vouchers, or any other normally accepted reason for government redistribution of funding. It is purely based on the color of their skin.
Considering the demographics of the school, it is not white by any statistical means, not when less than one-third is white. Nearly half of the student population is Hispanic or Latino, at 47 percent. 53 percent of the students are on a subsidized lunch program. Despite this, the school is able to get an 8 out of 10 ranking in the State of California, and an API score of 851 as of 2013. In North Hollywood, there are only 4 other schools out of 25 that scored higher. Two of those are elementary charter schools, and the others are public elementary schools. The public elementary schools are also a majority Hispanic/Latino, with less than a third being white.
When will funding be based on the merits and needs of students, rather than quotas? The remnants of the past still linger, a memento of a time when opportunities were exclusively based on skin color, except now, those same laws that were instituted to bring equality, are putting a divide between the quality of education the next generation receives because of who they were born.
The formula used to calculate funding was developed in 1978. It was a fantastic year where the senate proceedings were broadcasted for the first time on radio, Grease and Superman were shown in theaters and the Ford pinto was recalled. The point of it is that the formula is 39 years old with much of the world seeing extensive changes, and how money is distributed for education is something that should be looked at every few years. Spending needs to be justified, and looking at a school and comparing the number of white kids is not the way to determine what school needs more money than another.