How Much Does a Good Education Cost?


The city I grew up in has a population of about 130,000 and income levels ranging from the millions to the low thousands. There are two public high schools, five public middle schools, and twelve public elementary schools. Every few years, the superintendent has to redistrict all of these schools. The redistricting happens because of funding. Stamford (the city I grew up in) has three very distinct areas; there is the lower class area right near the downtown area, the middle class area which is surrounded by various shopping centers, and the upper-class which is located away pretty far from the chaotic city life.  The two public high schools pulled in students from two very different districts. Stamford High School had about a quarter of the students from the upper-class, half of the middle-class, and three-quarters from the lower-class. Westhill, on the other hand, had the majority of students from the upper-class families and very few from the lower-income areas. Which school do you think had more funding?

The law stating that property tax must help fund K-12 education is completely unfair. Every district has different property wealth, and depending on the property wealth of a district, a school can either prosper or fail. School funding helps pay for the school’s upkeep, sporting equipment, academic supplies, and teachers; without enough funding a school, and its students will suffer. The amount of state and government funding given to a public school should be equal. It should not be reliant on the wealth of the families attending that school or its location.

T
he lack of funding for public schools also further hurts the community. Families do not want to move to an area where public schools are failing, they want their children to get the best education possible. The people who end up suffering are those who are immobile. Families that cannot move due to any reason and are forced to deal with a poverty driven school district. There is a huge funding-gap between schools is low and high poverty area, a problem that is affecting many states. A quote from an article by PBS states that “We need to have urban schools that are so good that they will not be abandoned by people, and this is impossible without equitable funding. Until we have equitable funding for our urban schools, there’s no chance in the world that people in large numbers are going to return.” 

Public school funding should be regulated so that funding is equal, no matter the wealth of the community surrounding the school.

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3 thoughts on “How Much Does a Good Education Cost?

  1. I attended a small public high school in New Jersey with a graduating class of about 90 (on average). All of the other schools in my area were private schools or regional schools encompassing multiple towns. It was so unfortunate to see that schools we competed with academically and athletically were receiving significantly more funding than we were. Obviously we were much better off than the schools in destitute areas, but the issue was apparent. I really do agree that there has to be a better way to fund schools and thus drastically improve education in America.

  2. Stamford High School had about a quarter of the students from the upper-class, half of the middle-class, and three-quarters from the lower-class.

    That is a school with 1 and 1/2 its own size. Not sure what you meant.

  3. How might it be funded to equalize? I think Michigan and some other states have moved to a floor- a minimum amount of funding from the state. But, are you going to forbid some communities form spending more than the minimum? And, would you continue to collect property tax and then just divide it up at the state level? Or some other tax?

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