In the modern world education is of a paramount importance. In fact, education is important not only for individuals but for the whole society and state as well because it creates the basis of the national intellectual potential and defines the future of the nation. At the same time, modern education faces a number of problems, among which equity and effective funding of education are probably the major ones.
It should be pointed out that nowadays practically all states and districts are particularly concerned about the equity of education, wide access and equal opportunities to all students to receive possibly better education. In the result of such a policy a variety of programs were developed. For instance, there are programs that support full funding for the parent education programs, the at-risk preschool programs and all day kindergartens to students begin school ready to learn. Culturally diverse communities develop their budgets taking into consideration the increasing at-risk and bilingual weighting factors and other strategies in order to give more time and support to students who are not meeting grade level outcomes.
At the same time, the cases, when there is additional support and full funding for the cost of special education services for children with exceptional needs through special school finance, formulas are not rare though often they provoke discussions as for reasonability of such funding and clearness and objectivity of such finance formulas.
Nonetheless, it is strategically important to provide schools with sufficient funding in order to make education really accessible and equal, though, it is worthy of mention that special programs and initiatives affect dramatically local district budgets and often education becomes a kind of burden for the budget. In this respect, it is necessary to underline that the problem of effective use of financial funds is even more important and serious than the problem of funding proper.
Unlike the local district budget, the funding on the state level is quite different. In this respect, it is necessary to point out that one of the primary concerns of the state budget is funding public schools which are a kind of priority. Moreover, often general support for public schools reflects level funding. It is also noteworthy that, as a rule, a state budget is less focused on special programs and initiatives compared to local district budget though it is traditionally accepted that the financial aid to local districts is essential from the part of the state in order to increase the effectiveness of the local district budgets, which, as it has already been mentioned above, are not always able to afford the funding of all programs.
Nonetheless, there are also certain similarities between state and local district budgets since both pay attention to the salary of educators and traditionally, on both levels specialists attempt to raise funds in order to constantly increase salaries of educators and financially motivate their work.
At the same time, it should be said that state budgets are less flexible compared to the local district budgets. This is why the realization of some special programs targeting at the elimination of inequality is more difficult for state budgets than to local district ones. Moreover, the latter can better realize the actual need of the community and use funds more effectively than state budgets though, even on the local level, the use of funds is not perfect.
As for the federal level, the funding of education is getting even more complicated and, probably, less effective. At the same time, the distinguishable feature of the federal funding of education is the trend to make education more accessible and less costly for possibly larger number of people. No wonder that there are a variety of programs and strategies which target at the minimization of costs of education, especially for deprived classes, including representatives of lower classes. As a result, such programs as a well-known presidential initiative No Child Left Behind are developing.
At the same time, often the main priority of such programs is public education and public schools. In this respect, it is possible to trace the same trends in the state budget, but the difference is that on the federal level there is even less contact with the local communities and, what is more, there is practically no effective programs that really targets at gifted students, for instance. In actuality, the federal funding of education is focused on masses of students, regardless their actual needs, unlike local district budgets which are more conscious of the needs of local communities.
As a result, the modern education is characterized by quite a paradoxical situation when the funding increases but, on the federal level, it is focused on public education at large and does not take into consideration the needs of local communities. In stark contrast, on the level of local district budgets funding may be more flexible and correspond to the actual needs of the local community but, unfortunately, the local district budget cannot afford all special programs and initiatives they develop. In such a situation, the state funding becomes a kind of mediator between local districts that use funding more effectively but often lack funds and federal authorities, which have funds but use them not very effectively.