Update, October 7: Last week, New Times published an article based on a new report by the nonprofit Education Reform Now on racial funding gaps in Florida's public school system. Saturday, a spokesperson for the group informed New Times that the authors had mistakenly assessed the schools' nonwhite enrollment, drastically altering the report's findings. A corrected version of the report was released over the weekend.
The original report's findings were grim. Using never-before-analyzed data, the authors found that race-based inequities existed in eight of the state's ten largest school districts, saying schools with the highest percentage of nonwhite students received less per pupil than schools with fewer nonwhite students. The authors said Miami-Dade had the largest racial funding gap in the state by some distance. The trend of higher funding going toward schools with higher concentrations of white students persisted even in cases of low-income, majority-minority schools.
The corrected version of the report undercuts nearly all the findings in the original. Now, all ten of Florida's largest school districts, schools with the largest concentrations of nonwhite students received more than schools with low concentrations of nonwhite students. In other words, the racial funding gap exists, but in the opposite direction — nonwhite students in those districts have a significant advantage when it comes to funding. Even when considering the intersection between race and poverty, nonwhite students maintained a funding advantage in every one of the ten largest school districts besides Duval County, where extremely small race-based inequities exist.
"It's always a good day when we can say states are making investments in historically-underserved schools and we apologize to the Florida Department of Education for transcribing the data in a manner that didn’t accurately portray the state's investments," said a statement released by Education Reform Now. "We take pride in producing reliable research that can help improve outcomes for students and we appreciate having this error brought to our attention."
New Times has removed the original post containing inaccurate information. We regret the error.
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