I agree, LotM. I think it works similarly in our city. It's not like wealthy neighborhoods get more money per pupil. I think here it works that all students in the district get about the same per pupil allotment and then more for children with special needs and/or more for Title 1. One difference here is that every district seems to have some allotment for title one. So, for instance a well-off district may see a school with 30% poverty qualifying for title 1 assistance and in my city schools must have am much higher percentage of children qualifying for FAPA to qualify for extra funding.
I don't really know much about high school education in my city so I can't comment on books. I guess I assumed that the whole culture around books has changed... My DC hasn't had any books yet in 6th grade.
How does Canada handle students with special needs? We lived 3 years in Germany and one of the things I thought was interesting was how they differentiated their education system. In some ways their system is a good example of differentiated education but a lot of Americans were raised to highly praise inclusive education. I think this issue is complicated in terms of how we balance ideals with reality. Does Canada have some sort of standardized goals and/or evaluations?