Sunderman writes that the report lacks the necessary evidence to support its arguments. Instead, she writes, it relies on rhetoric and on a misleading use of research that ignores conflicting evidence.
The report also ignores the complexity of federal education funding, including of Title I, and it fails to analyze the factors that it claims causes the purported problems in the program. It offers no evidence that its prescription would improve academic outcomes, and it ignores how its proposal would hurt, rather than improve, educational opportunities, Sunderman adds. By allowing funding to flow out of the public school system, portability would exacerbate existing inequities between Title I and non-Title I schools.
The result is a report that “is little more than a polemic,” the review concludes, “using an eclectic assortment of disconnected facts and figures about Title I funding to promote choice and voucher policies.”Review of Federal School Finance Reform, Gail L. Sunderman
This report argues that federal Title I funding needs to be reformed because, as currently structured, it does not address funding inequities between Title I and non-Title I schools, and because current regulations governing the program negate its effectiveness. The report proposes reforming Title I so that funding is portable, that is, it follows the child. That change would, among other things, facilitate school choice policies. To support its arguments, the report relies on two strategies: (1) it cites literature that supports its position while ignoring conflicting evidence, and (2) it uses rhetoric rather than evidence. The report ignores the complexity of Title I and of federal education funding generally. It also provides no analysis of the factors contributing to the alleged Title I problems. For these reasons and others, the report is little more than a polemic, using an eclectic assortment of disconnected facts and figures about Title I funding to promote choice and voucher policies. The report provides no evidence that its recommendations will improve academic outcomes and does not consider the adverse impact its recommended policies would have on improving educational opportunities, which is what Title I is designed to do.