School funding disparities and the plight of Latinx children
Keywords:School Funding, Equity, Latinx, Education Policy
This article provides a systematic decomposition of disparities in school funding by race and ethnicity using two new data resources. First, we use a national district level panel of data from the School Finance Indicators Database to evaluate recent (2012 – 2017) disparities in school revenue and spending by race in addition to poverty, across and within all states and within selected states. Next, we use data from the National Education Cost Model (NECM) to evaluate disparities in spending against estimates of “costs” of achieving national average student outcomes to determine racial differences in gaps between current spending and costs of equitable outcomes. As Latinx shares increase, per pupil spending and revenue decrease, respectively by about 4% to 7% for districts that are approximately 100% Latinx compared to those that have few or no Latinx students, controlling for poverty. More striking, when controlling for poverty, a district that is 100% Latinx is nearly 2.5 times as likely as a district that is 0% Latinx to be financially disadvantaged (have revenue <90% of labor market average, and poverty greater than 120%), when controlling for poverty and 28.5 times as likely when not controlling for poverty. Finally, spending is less adequate to achieve national average outcomes, across states, in districts serving larger shares of Latinx students.