Date of Award

Fall 12-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Foundations & Leadership


Educational Leadership

Committee Director

William Owings

Committee Member

Steve Myran

Committee Member

Petros Katsioloudis


Over the past two decades, education funding in the United States has been redistributed to schools that lack sufficient financial resources to meet the needs of students (Boyle & Lee, 2015). The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001, the reauthorized Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), was enacted to increase academic accountability and achievement throughout the nation’s public-school systems. Nationwide, there is a persistent achievement gap between historically marginalized students and their affluent peers. This gap is evident in the Commonwealth of Virginia when measuring student proficiency on End of Course Assessments (EOCAs). For schools serving a large population of students from impoverished families, Title 1 funding is available to local education agencies (LEAs) to help students meet state academic standards. State’s per-pupil instructional expenditures vary widely between affluent and less affluent school divisions. The educational researchers demonstrated a connection between funding and the graduation rates of minority male students (Lhamon et al., 2018; Pan et al., 2003).

There is limited research assessing the impact Title 1 funding has had on high school graduation rates in Virginia from 2008-2019. Prior educational finance studies have measured the relationship between state fiscal effort and high school graduation rates. The purpose of this study is to determine if there is a relationship between the amount of Title 1 and SOQ funds allocated to schools and the graduation rates of minority male students in the state of Virginia during the aforementioned time frame. This research seeks to examine the significance of Virginia’s fiscal effort for education, the proportion of its wealth invested in K-12 public education and its direct impact in determining how much federal and state funding is allocated in order to balance funding inequities through a concept known as vertical equity, defined as the treating of unequal’s requires appropriate unequal treatment (Owings & Kaplan, 2020). Policymakers and state Department of Education personnel should recognize that students and schools have unique needs that require different levels of funding. In this study, vertical equity relates to Title 1 funding and its direct educational impact on school divisions in Virginia with meeting the educational needs of historically marginalized students. The methodology used within this study includes linear and multiple regression, Pearson Product Moment correlation, and time-lagged correlation design.

According to Maslow‘s Hierarchy of Needs (1943), many marginalized students do not have the basic resources needed to become self-actualizing learners and adequately function in society. Unfortunately, this has a significant impact on students struggling in school both behaviorally and academically, and the idea of high school graduation starts to fade in those students’ mind.


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