- A new report from the Center for American Progress, written by Rutgers University professor Bruce Baker, sheds light on the lack of equity in education funding in several states, with particular disparities existing in Philadelphia and Chicago public schools.
- Due to funding systems that give districts in the well-off surrounding suburbs a larger share of money, the districts within the cities themselves, which have the neediest students, are left to contend "with overcrowded and crumbling schools, high crime and considerable dropout rates."
- The "savage inequalities," the report says, are a result of funding systems based in part on local property taxes, meaning that schools in low-income areas with low property values get less money by default.
For those keeping tabs, this study may not come as much of a surprise. Chicago and Philadelphia have been in the headlines off and on over the last several years due to funding deficits that have led to layoffs, school closings, strikes, and other issues. Last year, Philadelphia's cash-strapped teachers even had to crowdfund in order to afford basic school supplies — and that was after a shortfall nearly made it impossible for schools to open on time (an issue that happened again this year).
Worse yet, Chicago and Philadelphia are merely the worst-case situations on this front. Numerous other districts wrangle with the same funding inequities. Hopefully, this study will begin a louder, more widespread dialog on the matter.
For a look at how economic inequity (in the classroom or at home) impacts student achievement, check out our recent feature and infographic.