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school funding

Stack of money
Pictures of Money / Flickr CC / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

State funding for higher education in the U.S. is showing continued growth overall. That's according to the results of the latest Grapevine survey, an annual compilation of data on state fiscal support for higher education.

State funding rose by 3.4% across the U.S. from the 2015-16 to 2016-17 fiscal years. James Palmer is a professor of higher education at Illinois State University and Grapevine Editor.

flickr user JD Hancock/CC by 2.0

There have been lots and lots of studies on whether additional funding for schools really leads to better outcomes for kids. And, for a long time, some of the conclusions of those studies were a bit mixed.

But in the past year or so, a few new studies have made the case that money does matter for student outcomes. And one study in particular uses Michigan’s Proposal A as the proof.

jar of change
Pictures of Money / Flickr CC / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Nearly 10 years after the recession, school funding is still way down in some states. That's according to a new report released Thursday by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

According to the report, 35 states provided less overall state funding per student in the 2014 school year than in the 2008 school year, before the recession took hold. In 27 states, local funding per student fell over the same period.

Does private funding have a place in public schools?

May 12, 2016
401(K) 2012 / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Should an anonymous donor be able to save a public school? 

The question was raised by a story I listened to yesterday on NPR.

Traverse City Area Public Schools in northern Michigan has lost 12% of its students in the past decade. And last fall its superintendent recommended closing three elementary schools.

David Mulder / Flickr Creative Commons / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

On average, kids in the U.S. spend around 943 hours each year in the classroom.

And in those hours, teachers are expected to educate them and keep them safe.

But many teachers are also expected to buy their own supplies to perform these functions.

Nick Azzaro / Ypsilanti Community Schools

This story is part of the NPR reporting project “School Money,” a nationwide collaboration between NPR’s Ed Team and 20 member station reporters exploring how states pay for their public schools and why many are failing to meet the needs of their most vulnerable students.

This isn’t exactly breaking news, but it’s worth repeating: we have no idea – as a state – how much it costs to adequately educate a child in Michigan. Most states have done so-called “adequacy studies,” but Michigan hasn’t. Until now. We’ve got a new school funding study underway. But before we get to the nitty gritty details about what goes into the study, let's ask some students how much they think it costs to educate one child per year in Michigan. 

user Phil Roeder / flickr

If you've been following State of Opportunity for a while, you've probably heard us say this a few times now: our state constitution legally promises all Michigan kids  a "free" education, but it says nothing about that education being "adequate" or "equitable."

Here's the exact language:

Sec. 2. The Legislature shall maintain and support a system of free public elementary and secondary schools as defined by law. Every school district shall provide for the education of its pupils without discrimination as to religion, creed, race, color or national origin.

Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

Brian Whiston is the new guy in town at the Michigan Department of Education, and it looks like he's got poverty on the brain. Whiston and the state Board of Ed early this week convened a group of folks from around the state to share their ideas for how to improve academic outcomes for all students, especially those in poverty.

Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

The Washington Post ran a story this week, highlighting disparities in public education funding and calling it "one of the sleeper civil rights issues of our time."

The article points to two new studies that show how disparities in school funding harm students in poverty and the country as a whole.  Here's an excerpt:

Hope for Gorilla / flickr

Kara Gavin wanted to know the answer to this question, "Why does the law allow such persistent disparity in school district funding? Could civil rights laws be used to level the playing field?"

Gavin is getting ready to send her child to elementary school and that has her thinking a lot about school quality for her own family and families all over the state. 

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