Making the Grade 2023 examines the condition of school finance in the states in the 2020-21 school year, the first full school year of the Covid-19 pandemic. The report highlights how education budgets were negatively affected by economic uncertainty and calls on state policymakers to make necessary investments in the nation’s public schools.

A new study by Education Law Center (ELC) and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) examines public school funding in eight Southern states based on criteria in ELC’s national Making the Grade report. The report finds that Southern states’ failure to prioritize public education has an outsized impact on students of color and students living in or near poverty.

$600 Billion Lost lays bare public education’s “lost decade” from 2008 to 2018 when states failed to reinvest in public schools as they recovered from the Great Recession. If PK-12 funding had kept pace with states’ economic growth, public schools would have had well over half a trillion dollars more in state and local revenue to invest in teachers, support staff and other resources essential to give students, especially the most vulnerable, a meaningful opportunity for success. 

ELC’s previously published reports, Is School Funding Fair?: A National Report Card (Eds. 1-7) and Making the Grade 2019-2021, can be found on the Publications page.

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