Three interesting K-12 funding charts shown at a recent Senate hearing, and prepared by their staff. I’ve editorialized on the side with dialogue boxes.
The first illustrates an important point – just because nominal spending has increased over time (representing the upward trajectory of the bar graphs) does not mean K-12 programs have increased (in fact, the inverse is sometimes true, when the aging workforce makes it expensive just to keep the teaching staff we have) Basically, this chart shows that while there have been ebbs and flows, state funding has only managed to keep pace with inflation, and not much else.
Also, one can start in a year in which K-12 funding is demonstrably inadequate, show increases with inflation over time, and it creates the overall impression of adequacy. But, if you are starting from a point of inadequacy, whether you’ve kept pace of inflation is essentially irrelevant: the funding is still inadequate. It’s easy to be fooled by charts going up. The question is: going up against what?