“Our states and communities bear the brunt of students’ dropping out through costs to society, diminished quality of life, and—most important—the loss of productive, engaged citizens. This is not a problem that can be ignored until state economies improve.” National Conference of State Legislatures, A Path to Graduation for Every Child
Defaulting on education hits low income families hardest, hurts everyone - Parents, teachers, students and advocates see this and are speaking out.
Since 2008, at least 46 states have “imposed cuts that hurt vulnerable residents and the economy,” according to research by CBPP. California cut billions of dollars in K-12 aid to school districts and Arizona eliminated preschool for more than 4,000 kids. Low income families in Rhode Island saw cuts to K-12 education and Head Start Programs. School bus service was cut in Missouri. And youth in Michigan, Minnesota and New Mexico whose chances to go to college depend on grants and financial aid saw cuts to crucial college funding. For the full report.
As the US PIRG reports, cuts to the Pell Grant program just passed by the House of Representatives “slash the maximum award by $845 for the students who can afford it the least…Millions of these students are already at the tipping point, many would be forced to drop out of school.” For the news release.
Meanwhile, new research and tools show the importance of providing for equitable, excellent schooling:
Recent research by Dr. Julian Vasquez Heilig (UT Austin) found that “test scores improve when urban schools increase operating expenditures, decrease student-teacher ratios and increase the number of bilingual certified teachers.” Heilig’s work looked at the impact of “inputs” on student achievement in large, urban elementary schools in Texas with primarily Latino/a student populations, using statistical models of Austin, Dallas and Houston.
Research by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett takes a global perspective. Their work “The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger,” examines how severe wealth disparities impact societies around the world and what it means to narrow the gaps. For an interview by Tom Ashbrook on the authors' new research.
The United Way’s Common Good Forecaster helps to show how investing in education benefits our communities as a whole.
To examine the impact of school funding on educational opportunity, the U.S. Department of Education announced last month that it would be setting up the Equity and Excellence Commission, to be co-chaired by Christopher Edley and Reed Hastings. To learn more about the Equity and Excellence Commission.