Thursday, June 21, 2012

South Dakota School Funding Gets Graded

A report of education funding in each state entitled Is Funding Fair finds wide disparities exist:
  • The national average funding level, adjusted to account for student poverty, regional wage variation, economies of scale, and population density, is $10,774 per pupil, a $642 increase over the estimate in the 2010 report.
  • The highest funded states are those in the northeastern region of the country, with the exception of Wyoming and Alaska. The lowest funded states predominate in the South and West.
I have only been able to skim the executive summary.  South Dakota earns a B in fairness and an F in state effort.

Valerie Strauss puts the report in perspective with a bit more nuance:
Legislators can extend the school day, force new tests on students and link the scores to a teacher’s job, but a new analysis about disparities in school funding raises the uncomfortable question of just how effective any reforms can really be when issues of equity are ignored.
Governor  Daugaard may believe that South Dakota is being fair, so he can push through politically inspired reforms like HB 1234.  Strauss, however, continues:
Adequate funding, of course, is not the definitive answer to public education’s problems, but it is certainly a necessary if not dispositive prerequisite.
South Dakota's governor and legislature seem to be doing a great job of illustrating the difference between fairness and justice.  South Dakota is fairly distributing the results of it's inadequate effort but that doesn't mean the effort justly provides students the resources they are due.


3 comments:

caheidelberger said...

Slug on my flow: "Pierre screws everyone."

LK said...

So it's that obvious that I'm prepping to do the LD portion of debate camp next week?

Is the legislature in an inherent barrier? The report gives harms and policy recommendations that have some solvency

Mike Larson said...

"More recently, some commentators have been using data on education spending spanning decades to support the claim that while overall spending has increased, achievement levels have remained stagnant. In other words, the U.S. spends “a lot” on education, but “has little to show for it.” This assertion makes for a good sound bite, but is very misleading. The claim that there has been no improvement in NAEP scores over time, however, is certainly contested.21 Further, this claim ignores the reality that, as the National Report Card makes clear, the U.S. has no national education system or national system of school funding, but rather 50 state systems, many of which fail to provide sufficient funding, fairly distributed to account for student and school need. It also ignores the shifts in the demographic makeup of the public school enrollments in the states, particularly the growing concentration of student poverty, and policy changes that account for a significant share of increases in spending since the 1970s, such as federal law requiring schools to serve students with disabilities."

This is from the full report. Boy does this sound familiar. I hope Daugaard is reading this one. I doubt it. Also note that this only goes until 2009. It does not include the massive cut taken in 2010.