Monday, June 8, 2015

Fourth Annual School Funding Fairness report out and can be found here. It's intentionally being released as the same time as the Education Law Center/Education Leadership Fund's report on disparities in education funding. As Rebecca Klein reports, the second report is qualitative, rounding up examples from across the country on what inequities in funding look like, while the first is qualitative, giving clear statistical information about inequities in funding across the country.
Among the more worrying trend is that of falling effort: that is, the gap between a state's ability to funding education and its actual funding of education. Per the Washington Post report:
Most of the nation could afford to spend more on education, the report argues, pointing to the falling level of “effort” on education spending in most states. Effort is defined in the report as the ratio of state and local education spending to economic productivity – or the state’s gross domestic product.
In all but four states – West Virginia, Illinois, Wyoming and Connecticut – the level of effort fell between 2008 and 2012.
Yes, Massachusetts: we who otherwise do well by these measures are doing "C" level work at effort in education funding. We are a relatively wealthy state, but we don't act like it when it comes to how we fund education.
We're also mid-pack in "coverage," which is how many of our children attend public schools; this measure also reflects equity, as it has a direct tie to how much buy-in communities have in their public education system.

I hope the Foundation Budget Review Commission is paying attention!

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