A lack of equitably funded public schools is creating huge barriers for many of our nation’s students.
Inequitable funding is creating huge barriers for many of our nation’s public school students. According to The Century Foundation, we are underfunding our, “K-12 public schools by nearly $150 billion annually, robbing more than 30 million school children of the resources they need to succeed in the classroom.” The schools that are being robbed of much needed funding are most often those where Black and Latinx students make up most of the student body.
Funding formulas directly impact the support for public schools. For instance, funding inequities at the local level are a result of local property taxes. Local districts use property taxes to fund schools, and the economic condition or tax base of the area, whether affluent or disadvantaged, influences the amount of funding the schools receive. This disparity in funding between differing communities creates funding gaps: districts with a lower tax base suffer the consequences of poorly funded schools. Equitable funding would offset this gap acknowledging that less affluent communities require more funding from state and/or federal sources to offset the funding gap.
There is a direct correlation between student achievement and school funding. Statistics show that when schools are properly funded, student achievement improves. More funding ensures access to qualified teachers, stable learning environments, and other support services. However, in underfunded schools, students often must deal with large class sizes, fewer advanced classes, lack of resources, less experienced teachers, and, in some cases, no teacher at all.
Inequitable funding means that we are failing to invest in many of our children. If students are to be successful, our public schools require funding formulas that promote equity. When we choose to underfund public schools, we are depriving millions of young people the opportunity to not only succeed academically in the present, but we are building barriers that deprive them of success in the future.
This needs to change.