Using NSLA Funds to Boost Learning and Fight Poverty
NSLA funding (also known as ‘poverty funding’) is named after the National Student Lunch Act because the funding each district gets is determined by the number of students who receive free and reduced meals. The funds are intended for programs which help low-income students overcome barriers and succeed in school.
NEED FOR ACCOUNTABILITY AND EFFECTIVENESS
- Many schools are not spending their NSLA funds in the best ways to help close the achievement gap for low-income students. Only 8.1 percent of NSLA funding in 2011 was spent on proven solutions that we know will close the gap such as pre-K, after school and summer programs.
USING NSLA FUNDS AS THEY WERE INTENDED
- We should also be open to alternative methods of distributing NSLA funds, such as grants to community based organizations which provide summer and after school programs.
- NSLA funding should only be used for programs that address the needs of low income students and have been proven to help close the achievement/opportunity gaps. The Department of Education should evaluate existing uses of NSLA funds and determine which measures are most effective at closing the gaps.