This study highlights the significant downside of the introduction of competitive grants into the New York school finance system. It makes a strong case that these grants have actually been substituted for aid programs, such as the Foundation Formula, which distribute school aid based on student need and district wealth. Key Findings
- Competitive grants create a system of educational winners and losers among students, instead the state should be guaranteeing all students access to high quality programs.
- Competitive grants are inequitable. Only 19 out of 202 high needs school districts even applied for funding through the competitive grants, whereas 100% of them would receive funding had this money been put through the foundation aid formula.
- While the competitive grants do prioritize high quality educational programs including academically excellent middle schools, college level courses in high school, career and technical education, and increasing the number of students graduating with Regents Diplomas with Advanced Designation, these exact types of programs have been cut from schools statewide as a result of state budget cuts.
- Test scores are the single largest factor in awarding competitive grants meaning that when students take tests they are competing with each other for access to high quality educational opportunities. Making schools compete for funding based upon test scores will result in more teaching to the test.