Compensatory Education:

Difficulties in Measuring Comparability of Resources Within School Districts

HRD-93-37: Published: Mar 11, 1993. Publicly Released: Mar 11, 1993.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO examined school districts' compliance with the Department of Education's Chapter 1 program provisions that schools within a single district have comparable services, programs, personnel, and resources.

GAO found that: (1) educators and Education officials disagreed as to how to best measure Chapter 1 comparability and how broadened criteria would affect school districts; (2) Chapter 1 districts generally complied with student-teacher ratio requirements and Chapter 1 districts had equal or greater numbers of instructional staff per student than non-Chapter 1 schools; (3) both federal and state agencies monitored compliance with the federal comparability provisions; (4) Chapter 1 schools were often inadequate in terms of teacher quality, supplies, equipment, and other expenditures; (5) Chapter 1 comparability provisions positively affected the equitable distribution of state and local resources among within-district schools; (6) additional Chapter 1 comparability requirements may not ensure greater quality or equal distribution of resources, may reduce school resource distribution flexibility, and increase administrative costs; and (7) changes to Chapter 1 comparability requirements need to be addressed in the greater national education debate on national standards and take into consideration the relationships among standards, school resources, and measuring school capacity.

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