Alex Gonzalez, Public News Service
A new report found 39 states devote a smaller share of their economies to their K-12 public schools than they did in 2006.
Nevada is among 10 states where about 60% of students attend a school in what the report deems “chronically underfunded” districts.
Mary Cathryn Ricker, president of the Albert Shanker Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization, said since the Great Recession, most states have increased their school, teacher and student expectations while refusing to put a stop to what she called “disastrous cuts.”
“When you figure that four out of five states devote a smaller share of their own state economies to their public schools than they did before the 2007-09 recession, that said that just about every state would benefit from some sort of audit,” Ricker asserted.
Ricker noted the report serves as a tool for the state of Nevada to look and see what its efforts were in 2006 and where it stands today. The report considers Nevada to be a “low effort state,” as it spends less than 3% of its economic capacity on its public schools. The U.S. national average sits at more than 3.5%.
Ricker pointed out many around the country are concerned about the fiscal cliff on the horizon because pandemic-related aid is running out. But she argued school funding in most states “fell off a fiscal cliff 15 years ago.”
The report laid out a number of policy recommendations such as routine audits to ensure different student needs are being met in school districts and prioritizes the distribution of federal K-12 aid based on need and effort as well as enhancing federal monitoring of school funding adequacy, equity and efficiency.
“We can have high expectations for our public schools, we should have high expectations for them,” Ricker emphasized. “And we should be funding what it takes to meet those expectations at the same time, and those two things have not advanced equally.”
African American students are twice as likely as their white peers to be in districts with below adequate funding and 3.5 times more likely to be in “chronically underfunded” districts. The report found the discrepancies between Hispanic and white students were less, but still significant.
This article originally appeared on Public News Service and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.