Primary and secondary school districts provide American school children with the education they require to grow up as responsible adults and obtain degrees for their professional careers. Funding for the schools mostly comes from several state and local governments, although the federal government is slowly starting to provide aid for schools to prevent budget-related cuts of important educational classes and programs.
More than $40 billion in government funding will go toward elementary and secondary schools to help create and sustain programs, provide meals for students, prepare children to attend school, and other functions or activities, according to the New America Foundation. Most government funding is given to the Department of Education, which oversees the appropriation of funds through grants and other types of aid. In addition, other government agencies administer funding directly to schools.
With government agencies overseeing the distribution of funds, this ensures that the schools are putting the money toward the educational programs and services offered and not having the money go toward salaries and bonuses for school personnel. Below, you will find a list of five ways that the U.S. government provides aid to schools.
Halfway through a typical school day, children receive school meals for lunch as a break from classes and to receive a filling meal that will help them concentrate on assignments for the rest of the school day. The federal government, through the United States Department of Agriculture, provides the National School Lunch Program to all types of public and private schools so that children are receiving a nutritious lunch that is low-cost or free for the students to have every day. Close to $18 million has been given toward the program in 2011 to assist schools.
Low-income families and students who attend elementary and secondary schools can be reassured that they are receiving the same high-quality education as schools for the middle class and upper class due to the No Child Left Behind Title I Grants. This grant program provides funding for school districts in low-income areas to ensure that the education curriculum meets state academic standards. Funding from this program must go toward students who are failing the core subjects or are at risk of failing as schools can provide enrichment programs.
Enrolled schoolchildren and children about to be admitted to school can receive extra education to prepare them for school classes. The federally funded Head Start Program is another type of government aid for schools that focuses on increasing the education awareness of students from low-income families. Through the program, students can learn language, literacy, general knowledge, and approaches to learning. An average of $7.6 million had been given to this program during 2011 through the Department of Health and Human Services.
Children with disabilities need to have the same high quality education as students who do not have any physical, mental or emotional problems. Authorized by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Special Education Grants are available for schools and other educational agencies to provide free program courses to disabled children to properly prepare them for higher education and independent living. More than $11.5 billion in grant funding had been provided during the 2011 fiscal year.
Some types of government aid for schools is targeted toward older students to give them special skills that can be used during their professional careers and for the rest of their lives. The YouthBuild Program targets students 16 years of age up to the age of 24 to help them develop leadership skills and community service awareness. These students learn to build affordable housing as they earn their high school diploma or GED. The Department of Labor supports this program and has given up to $1 billion toward the program in 2011.
Even though the government only contributes about 10 percent in direct funding to schools, this funding has provided much-needed aid to schools to help students achieve their best academically. It has helped students stay in school and seek out their future careers.