Fairness in school funding is more than lacking across the country. Southern states are doing a particularly unfair job providing their students with educational resources and opportunities. A recent report from the Education Law Center, "Is School Funding Fair? A National Report Card," provides statistics and analysis of the fairness of school funding formulas for every state. The Institute for Southern Studies has examined the data further and says that Southern states have some serious work to do in order to ensure every student has a fair opportunity to learn.
The ELC report defines fairness across 4 measurements: funding level, funding distribution, effort and coverage. (We posted about this report awhile back, so click here for more details about the report.)
In every category, ISS points out to the low standing of Southern states. In funding, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas and Texas rank in the bottom 10. With regard to funding distribution, 5 states have "clearly regressive" funding formulas, including Alabama, North Carolina and Texas. Three states - Florida, Missouri and North Carolina - received low ratings in each of the four categories.
Equitable funding is a key part of ensuring that students have access to the resources they need to learn and succeed. States that unfairly fund their schools are putting already disadvantaged students further behind their wealthier peers and thereby solidifying education inequities and gaps in achievement. States that scored low in this report should take a hard look at how they fund their schools and how best they can serve their students.