Funding Cuts Create an Uncertain Future for Students

Funding Cuts Create an Uncertain Future for Students

Derek W. Black

Education, Americas

Research shows that school funding impacts student achievement.

With few exceptions, the various Democratic plans for public education share a common theme: more funding, less privatizing.

Candidates Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders have promised to dramatically increase or triple current federal funding for low-income students and curtail charter school growth. Elizabeth Warren recently went even further, promising to quadruple federal funding for low-income students and end federal funding for charter expansion.

These proposals have provoked a deluge of harsh responses from commentators. Increasing public education funding and limiting charters, critics say, is nothing more than pandering to teacher unions and demonizing charter schools. While this critique may resonate on the surface, it ignores a decade of gross underfunding and privatization of public education. As my research shows, addressing these problems is key to improving student achievement.

Shrinking government by shrinking education

The way taxpayers do or do not fund public schools goes to the core question of the role of government in democracy. Public schools have long consumed the lion’s share of state and local tax dollars. No other single program comes close.

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