From research and experience we know what makes schools strong. All schools need quality teaching, capable leadership, up-to-date facilities, and a welcoming environment for the families they serve. All children need high quality pre-K, reasonable class sizes, and for those children who need them, dental, health and counseling services are also vital. Programs that meet the needs of students with disabilities and those learning English are also critically important.
With these essential resources and “Programs that Work,” all kids—not just some—can have the genuine Opportunity To Learn.
Unfortunately, state and federal policymakers have not yet chosen to ensure access to a quality education for all, especially low-income children and children of color.
Fair and sufficient funding is essential for quality education. Most state funding systems—which control state and local funding—underfund schools and districts educating low-income children, and some state systems simply underfund most of their schools. Expanding the excellent public education available in some communities into low-wealth urban and rural communities requires fairer funding and the school resources that funding can buy.
- Linking Standards to Resources: New Jersey’s School Funding Reform Act
- Improving Funding Systems: Six States Find Ways to Move Forward
Research reports show the costs and benefits of programs proven to raise graduation rates and other achievement, and school funding experts often estimate the cost of quality education for an entire state. To-date, however, these studies have ignored the costs of correcting deficits that have accumulated from long-term neglect. Cost study critics also call for better data and additional research to improve cost study methodologies.
- Example of legislation authorizing state-level cost study - HB185, Pennsylvania (2006)
- State Cost Study Examples: Arkansas, Kansas, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, New Jersey Preschool
Other Critical Issues
Issues that are crucial to improving education for underserved children, include:
Teaching and Leadership
Education, a Civil Right
Please visit the Resources page to learn more.