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The Progressive Happy Hour: Inequity in Our Schools

Data has shown for decades that there are deep inequities in our nation’s schools when it comes to race and income—but just how much are some children being shortchanged?

In the March 9 episode of “The Progressive Happy Hour,” co-hosts Christin “Cici” Battle and Drew Courtney sat down with Ary Amerikaner, director of P-12 resource equity at The Education Trust, to talk about the state of school funding based on a new Education Trust report.

When you look at school funding by race, Ary explained, you “see really terrible patterns. Across the country, we see districts serving the highest concentration of students of color spending about $1,800 per pupil less than the districts serving the fewest students of color… Then within states, there are a ton of states—there are 14 states—that are spending substantially less in their highest students of color districts within the state.”

She pointed out that this translates into a lack of resources and support in kids’ lives, from well-paid teachers to school lunches to after-school care to school counselors.

In addition to unequal access to funding, there are also issues with how the money is being used: “There are 1.6 million kids in our country who go to school in a school where there is a sworn law enforcement officer but no school counselor…That’s nuts. If you think about what the purpose of schooling is, and if you think about the idea that kids are supposed to be getting support, and you think about all the lip service we give to ending the school-to-prison pipeline—and then you think about a school like that.”

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