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Inequity in School Funding

Southern States Must Prioritize Fair Public School Spending

Inequity in School Funding examines school funding in eight Southern states based on criteria established by Education Law Center’s national Making the Grade report, an annual state-by-state analysis of public school funding in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The report ranks and grades each state based on three key measures: funding level, funding distribution and funding effort.

The Southern states highlighted in the report are Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas. These states have “woefully insufficient” funding levels, and most of them fail to equitably distribute additional funds to low-wealth school districts, according to the report.

The impact of unfair school funding in the South is deeply rooted in the region’s history of racial segregation, which still influences education politics and policymaking and can be seen in the proliferation of private school vouchers and resistance to culturally responsive and inclusive teaching. This segregationist history means that Black and Latinx students and those living in or near poverty, groups that are overrepresented in public schools throughout the South, are more likely to bear the consequences of poorly resourced schools.

Photo Illustration by SPLC


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