A Decade of Neglect: Public Education Funding in the Aftermath of the Great Recession,” details the devastating impact on schools, classrooms and students when states choose to pursue an austerity agenda in the false belief that tax cuts will pay for themselves.

The comprehensive report offers a deep dive into the austerity agendas and disinvestment that sparked the wave of teacher walkouts around the country this spring.

Among the findings: Public education is underfunded in every single state in the United States.

  • When you control for inflation, there are 25 states that spent less on K-12 education in 2016 than they did prior to the recession. Schools in these states have been shortchanged by $19 billion.
  • Eighteen of the 25 states that provided less funding for K-12 education reduced their tax effort between 2008 and 2015.
  • In 35 states, between 2008 and 2016, the ratio of students to teachers grew.
  • In 38 states, the average teacher salary in 2018 is lower than it was in 2009.
  • Forty-one states have shortchanged higher education by a total of $15 billion.

The report reviews the research outlining how investments matter for education and points out that the harm caused by spending cuts affects students. It also examines the impact of privatization on public education.

The report finds evidence of austerity and disinvestment in every state. Even in states like New York, California and Minnesota, doing “better” doesn’t mean that funding is good enough.

Download the report