• Most states have largely stagnant or declining funding levels, and vast disparities among states remain. In fourteen states, funding levels in 2011 were below 2007 levels, even without adjusting for inflation. There is over a $10,000 gap between the highest funded state (Wyoming) and the lowest (Idaho).• The majority of states have funding systems with “flat” or “regressive” funding distribution patterns that ignore the need for additional funding in high-poverty districts. Recent trends show an increase in the number of regressive states and a decline in the number of progressive states. For example, Utah and New Jersey, both of which previously were among the most progressive states, experienced a significant erosion of equity.• Most states experienced a decrease in overall revenue resulting in a declining financial base from which to fund schools; most states also further reduced effort by lowering the share of economic productivity dedicated to education. The largest reductions in effort were seen in Maine, Hawaii and Florida.• Coverage is a relatively stable indicator, but it demonstrates the degree to which wealthier families in some states opt out of the public education system, potentially affecting the public and political will necessary to improve school funding. A relatively large share of students in Louisiana and Washington, D.C. attend nonpublic schools. These children tend to come from far wealthier families than their public school counterparts.
• a fair funding system should provide levels of funding based on student need;• student poverty is the most critical variable affecting funding levels and can serve as a proxy for other measures of disadvantage, such as racial segregation, limited English proficiency, and student mobility;• fair funding systems are designed “progressively” so that funding increases relative to student poverty;• a sufficient overall level of funding is a crucial starting point for any funding formula to be successful.
The report evaluates states on four measures: funding level, funding distribution, effort (differences in state spending relative to the state’s fiscal capacity) and coverage (the proportion of school-aged children attending the state’s public schools and also addresses the income disparity between families using public and nonpublic schools). Here’s the national report card, state by state: ieaiftletter