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Prior to COVID-19, states cut $600B in ed funding since Great Recession

Roger Riddell, K-12 Dive |

A pair of reports released Thursday by the Education Law Center — “Making the Grade 2020” and “$600 Billion Lost: State Disinvestment in Education Following the Great Recession” — add deeper context to the financial turmoil facing the nation’s public schools and further highlight the adverse impact states’ education funding cuts were already having prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to “$600 Billion Lost,” public schools lost a total of $598 billion in state and local revenue in the years following the Great Recession, with PK-12 funding in all but four states in 2018 representing a smaller portion of economic activity than before the crisis. The report graded how equitably states funded public schools based on three metrics: funding level, funding distribution and funding effort.


Meanwhile, “Making the Grade” shows dramatic variations in school funding levels from state to state, with those in the Northeast and Midwest generally trending toward higher funding levels than the South and West. In the top states, funding provided as much as 50% more than the national average of $14,548 per pupil, while the bottom states were as low as 30% less.


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