Is Your State Funding Its Neediest Students?

A new national report card looks at how states are funding their schools.

The Education Law Center, a public interest firm based in New Jersey, compiled a state-by-state report card examining whether each state school system is achieving equality in the funding of its schools—and especially in channeling extra funds to impoverished areas.

The report card looks at four components: funding level (the average money spent per pupil), funding distribution (states that funnel more money to high-needs schools are labeled "progressive"), effort (the percent of a state's "economic activity" that goes to education), and coverage rank (essentially, which schools have the highest percentage of their school-age population in public schools).

Minnesota, New Jersey, Ohio, and Utah, are all progressive states, according to the report; whereas Illinois, Nevada, and New Hampshire are regressive, with students in wealthy schools getting more funding than their low-income peers. Students in Wyoming, New Jersey, D.C., Vermont, and New York get the most money; those in Tennessee, Oklahoma, Idaho, Utah, and Mississippi get the least.

So, interestingly, while Utah makes efforts to get money to its neediest schools, the overall allocation of money to schools is still, relative to other states, insufficient.

Click here (PDF), if you want to download the entire report.

Via Education Week; Photo (cc) via Flickr user Editor B.