Introduction: analyst in Empirical Studies, history shows why
Introduction: There is an “unfair and inequitable funding of public education across states, with schools serving the highest proportion of impoverished students most often on the losing end,” according to Emily Richmond, public editor for the National Education Writers Association. Across the United States, there is a lack of funding for public education. Education requires a large amount of funds in order for schools to give resources and teachers to teach students. There are various reasons for these differences, dealing from history to the way the government works today. In the past, public education funding was distributed equally. However, during and after the years of the Great Recession lasting from the 2000s to the 2010s, schools began to face the inequality with funding. Even today, schools are still being cut off with funds. Over time, funding for public education has decreased due to the government, causing an unequal balance between schools across the United States.Funding in the past:In the past, funding for public education has been different to the way it is now. Spending on public education has always been high, but now the government is giving less. Before the end of the 19th century, funding for public education was provided by voluntary contributors. However, now public school funding is distributed through federal, state, and local sources. Those funds come from local property taxes, in which citizens pay to the system that generates funding differences between wealthy and impoverished communities. Differences between the amount of funding exist among states and school districts. In 1998, for example, the state with the highest average of public school funding was New Jersey, with a funding rate of $8,801 per student. On the other hand, Utah had the lowest amount of public school funding, with a rate of $3,804 per student. With the differences between the amount of money for public school funding, a student attending a public school in New Jersey was provided with more than twice the resources than a student in Utah received (Biddle). On the other hand, according to Dan Lips, a senior policy analyst, and Shanea Watkins, a former policy analyst in Empirical Studies, history shows why lack of funding is a problem in public education today and how spending on public education is actually very high. “Between 1994 and 2004, average per-pupil expenditures in American public schools have increased by 23.5 percent. Between 1984 and 2004, real expenditures per pupil increased by 49 percent. These increases follow the historical trend of ever-increasing real per-student expenditures in the nation’s public schools” (Lips). Even though funding is very high, it is not distributed equally. Overall, the amount of funding public education receives is based on the income and economic values of the location.Great Recession: The Great Recession during the late 2000s and early 2010s, had an impact on public schools education; eventually causing a decrease in funding. This was a period of general economic decline that was observed in the world markets. The Great Recession led the government to set up new laws, creating less funding. “Therefore, the fiscal crisis now faced by state governments in the wake of the recession, and similar budgetary problems just beginning to surface at the local level, are likely to have profound effects on the nation’s public schools” (Evans). With all funding coming from the government, the Great Recession created a challenge for the distribution of funding. Due to the decline of economics in the US, funding decreased for public schools. A greater gap between rich and poor school districts then occurred due to the cuts. With this, some school districts had faced lawsuits on whether or not the school districts had invested enough in education. With the Great Recession having a huge effect, laws were created in order to help funding not be eliminated fully. “The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) allowed states to keep up their funding. But they’ve had more freedom to decrease spending since that act expired” (McIntire) The ARRA ended the Great Recession in 2009, but didn’t help public funding. According to Lindsey Burke, who researches and writes on federal and state education issues, “As of March 2010, $36.2 billion in ARRA education funding remains unspent. Still, in April 2010, Senator Tom Harkin introduced the Keep Our Educators Working Act, which would provide $23 billion in additional funding to the Department of Education…” (Burke). The funding that was put toward education was not being used for schools. The ARRA was not ready to be used yet, and the decrease of economic and political aspects created it. During the Great Recession, funding for public education did not increase. The decline in the economy of the country led funding to decrease, making it even harder to receive more funding for public education. Public education today Funding for public education is inequitable across the United States, where schools are now lacking the funds for different school programs, which directly affects students. Alex Kuczynski-Brown who is an intern for HuffPost Education states, “Inequitable per-pupil spending perpetuated by regressive state and local school-finance systems remains cause for concern in U.S. public schools, despite state aid formulas designed to work to the contrary.” This unfair funding in the U.S public schools contributes to the underachievement of low income and minority students. Valerie Strauss who covers education and runs The Answer Sheet blog for the Washington Post also agrees that there is an unfair and uneven public school funding across the country. For example, the differences between funding in different states is appalling. In 2013, Utah had spent $6,555 per pupil, and New York spent $19,818 per pupil (Brown). This unbalance of funding has led to serious consequences. For instance, due to the struggle to make up for state funding cuts, jobs were lost. It is hard for school districts to raise additional money through the property tax to make up for cuts in state fundings (Leachman). Furthermore, cuts for public education have slowed the economy. The cuts made slowed down the economic recovery from the Recession. Teachers, programs, and contracts with other businesses had to be cut off. Large cuts in funding for basic education is a problem, with several consequences that need to be fixed. The Solution The unbalance of funding for public education throughout the United States needs to be solved. “Federal and state policymakers should implement Education reforms designed to improve resource allocation and boost student performance.” (Lips) Reforms need to be made in order for funding to increase. The states need to check their funding system and revise the formulas used to decide on the funding. In order for students to be successful, they need the right tools to learn. With no funding for their schools, they won’t be able to receive a good quality education. There needs to be an equal and fair distribution of public school funding, where a resolution needs to take place.