Discrimination in Education Financing


Linda Loubert

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

The Review of Black Political Economy

Publication Date


Date Added



Discrimination in education funding for African Americans can be seen as a vicious circle that ultimately keeps needed funds from those who might need it the most. The historical period of slavery in this country marks the beginning of the cycle because it was during this period that African Americans were denied the right to education. It could be argued there is an unconscious thread that continues to perpetrate/penetrate people's belief system, such that as a society, policies are made that deny/prevent equal education and funding for black students (Berry and Blassingame, 1982). Today, the evidence of discrimination can be seen in the contrast of run-down, rodent and insect infested school buildings provided for poor black inner city students to the clean, modern buildings provided for white suburban students. It can be found in the contrast of tenure of teachers for each group, or even the amount of money a district provides to the school for books, playgrounds, and/or academic programs. Beyond these points, however, there remains a myriad of political, social, and economic reasons that maintain education discrimination in our society. School finance reforms and/or state-based funding formulas have not provided sufficient funds for many children who are systematically kept in the lower echelons of labor and schooling. Much of the literature on school finance reform simply examines the lack and/or the acquisition of funding education. This essay considers the need to end discrimination by not only presenting an analysis of current and past scholars' rhetoric on discrimination for African Americans, but also by showing how the policy arena has failed to do what the laws were intending to do. Thereby, we can capture an understanding of how a populace within a nation that considers education as its number one priority (Broder, 2002), continues to suffer from discrimination in its funding and program administration of education. Utilizing the framework of political economy, we can understand how discrimination in school finance becomes a test of this society to resolve the racism and the class bias that exists, and why the capture of appropriate funds to those who deserve them is essential. As an initial step towards repairing the damage of slavery on the education patterns and policy for African Americans, the second largest bank in our country, JP Morgan, apologized for its links to slavery. It then gave $5 million to the education system in Louisiana (USA Today, 2005).