Making the Grade 2019

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Making the Grade 2019 provides compelling evidence that K-12 public school funding continues to be deeply unfair in many states and a major factor contributing to disparities in education resources, opportunities and outcomes for the 50 million public school children across the United States.

This report evaluates states on three crucial measures of fair school funding to show the condition of the state’s school funding system:

  • Funding Level measures per pupil state and local revenues, adjusted to account for regional cost differences. The ELC report finds that funding levels vary widely across states, from $8,569 per pupil in Arizona, to $27,588 per pupil in Vermont.

  • Funding Distribution measures the allocation of funds to school districts relative to the concentration of student poverty. States are classified as “progressive,” “regressive” or “flat” under this measure. The report finds a wide span in funding distribution, with Nevada providing 31% less (regressive) and Alaska providing 72% more (progressive) per pupil funding to high-poverty districts.

  • Funding Effort measures the level of investment in the K-12 public education system as a percentage of the state’s economic productivity (GDP). The report finds that the highest effort state (Vermont) makes nearly three times the effort of the lowest effort states (Arizona and North Carolina).

Making the Grade was designed to assist policymakers, advocates and others as they answer a key question: How fair is public school funding in your state?

 

Making the Grade 2019: How Fair is School Funding in Your State? is coauthored by Dr. Danielle Farrie, ELC Research Director; Robert Kim, a writer and adviser on education law and policy and former deputy assistant secretary in the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights; and David Sciarra, ELC Executive Director.