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Panel on Coronavirus Pandemic and K-12 Education Funding

Friday, Apr 24, 2020 | 1:30pm EDT

Get the full report here.

The most terrible and lasting effects of the coronavirus pandemic will of course be measured in loss of life. But a parallel tragedy will also be unfolding in the coming months and years, this one affecting those at the beginning of their lives: an unprecedented school funding crisis that threatens to disadvantage a generation of children.

It is difficult to make any precise predictions about the magnitude of the economic recession brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, except to say that it has already started and it is likely to be severe. The revenue that funds public K-12 schools—almost 90 percent of which comes from state and local sources—will see large decreases, resulting in significant funding cuts.

Making things worse, school districts in many states have yet to recover from the last recession, the so-called Great Recession, which officially began in late 2007 and devastated state and local education budgets. That is, many jurisdictions will be facing a possibly unprecedented funding crisis while they are still digging out from the last one.

States and districts, however, are not powerless; there is a path forward. There is no way to prevent all damage, and forward-thinking policymaking will be required. But there are ways to mitigate the severity and duration of the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on public school funding, as well as steps to take to make states and districts better prepared for the next crisis.

In this newly released report, The Coronavirus Pandemic and K-12 Education Funding, using data from multiple sources, we describe the effects of previous recessions, particularly the Great Recession, on K-12 education finance, as well as the federal, state, and local policies and trends that mediated—for better or worse—the impact of these downturns on public school budgets. We then use these lessons to offer recommendations for short- and long-term responses to the current crisis.

Bruce D. Baker, one on the principal authors of the report, along with Matthew Di Carlo, gave a brief overview of the report’s recommendations and then a distinguished panel of experts offered their responses and analyses.

Speaker:

Bruce D. Baker, Professor in the Department of Educational Theory, Policy, and Administration at the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers University and co-principal author of The Coronavirus Pandemic and K-12 Education Funding,

Respondents:

Sylvia Allegretto, Co-Chair, Center on Wage & Employment Dynamics, Institute for Research on Labor & Employment, University of California, Berkeley

Pedro Noguera, Distinguished Professor of Education at the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at UCLA

Joshua Starr, Chief Executive Officer, PDK International; former teacher and Superintendent of Schools, Montgomery County, MD.

Moderator: Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers and the Albert Shanker Institute.

Introduction: Leo Casey, Executive Director, Albert Shanker Institute

Additional resources:

Get the full report here.

"The teacher weekly wage penalty hit 21.4% in 2018, a record high” by Allegretto & Mishel

"Teacher staffing and pay differences: public and private schools” by Allegretto & Tojerow