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ERIC Number: ED533413
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Jun
Pages: 36
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
Is School Funding Fair? A National Report Card. Second Edition
Baker, Bruce; Sciarra, David; Farrie, Danielle
Education Law Center
Policymakers, elected officials, educators, parents and advocates are currently engaged in long-overdue dialogue about how to improve our nation's public schools. Unfortunately, when it comes to school funding, the conversation is framed by recurring, but outmoded, adages: "Does money matter?" or "Can we do more with less?" or "Our state already spends too much." The National Report Card seeks to inform and change the national dialogue about how our states finance public education. The data is presented so that stakeholders, politicians, taxpayers and concerned citizens can think more carefully about the role of school funding in achieving better education outcomes of the nation's children. The Report encourages readers to think not just about "how much" we spend on education, but whether schools have sufficient funding to deliver a high-quality education to all students. The Report also encourages readers to think more deeply about states' finance mechanisms and the decisions state legislators and governors make in constructing and funding these systems. Are these funding systems fair, do they target sufficient resources to those children who need them most, and are funds being leveraged to produce the most equitable and successful outcomes? The data in this report describe the status of state school finance systems at the outset of an economic recession. The Report Card depicts a nation where many states were already in need of significant reform in the way they fund their schools. Substantial cuts have followed, including systematically greater funding cuts in higher-poverty districts in many states. Many states already had a lot of work to do to ensure that their funding systems provide sufficient resources, equitably distributed, so that all students are capable of achieving at high standards. This report demonstrates the need to understand fair school funding as the essential precondition for the delivery of high-quality education. As the important discussions of how to improve our schools, stakeholders are encouraged to recognize that no reform can be successful unless built upon an equitable and fair funding system. As these important debates about educational improvement continue, it is hoped that the National Report Card will contribute valuable information that helps determine the direction of public education policy at the local, state and federal levels. National Child and Student Poverty Rates are appended. (Contains 7 tables, 15 figures and 21 footnotes.) [For the previous edition, "Is School Funding Fair? A National Report Card," see ED520522.]
Education Law Center. 60 Park Place Suite 300, Newark, NJ 07102. Tel: 973-624-1815; Fax: 973-624-7339; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Educational Testing Service
Authoring Institution: Education Law Center