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Legislative Update

Study looks at ways federal government shortchanges K-12 public education

by | Jul 14, 2022 | Federal Budget, Federal Issue, Legislative Update Blog

From EdWeek: “The federal government contributes roughly 8 percent of the $795 billion that annually goes toward educating the nation’s 50 million children. In many cases, however, the federal share falls short of its self-imposed targets, shortchanging schools on everything from high-need students and special education to facilities and school meals.

“This shortfall will persist without more vigorous and reliable federal intervention, argue the authors of a new report on funding sources for K-12 schools.

“Instead of asking school districts to rely on volatile state and local revenue, they say, the federal government needs to dramatically step up its investment in K-12 education and proactively establish funding programs that help schools during economic downturns.”

A few key findings emerged:

  • High-poverty districts frequently get fewer dollars per student than low-poverty districts.
  • Economic downturns like the Great Recession in the late 2000s magnify those gaps.
  • Many states fail to cover districts whose local funding falls well short of adequacy.

“Drawing from the new report and other sources, here are a few ways federal funding leaves schools in the lurch, regardless of who is president and which party is in power.”

  • Students with disabilities
  • High-need students
  • School facilities and infrastructure
  • School meals
  • English-language learners
  • Schools on federally owned land
  • Students experiencing homelessness

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