Jeremy Mohler of “In the Public Interest” writes about a new report showing that public schools are underfunded on purpose.

“Like many reports, the latest from the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools (AROS) drops a number of disturbing facts.
Between 2005 and 2017, the federal government neglected to spend $580 billion it was supposed to on students from poor families and students with disabilities. Over that same time, the personal net worth of the nation’s 400 wealthiest people grew by $1.57 trillion.

“Seventeen states actually send more education dollars to wealthier districts than to high-poverty ones.
Over 1.5 million students attend a school that has a law enforcement officer, but no school counselor. The school policing industry was a $2.7 billion market as of 2015.

“But Confronting the Education Debt doesn’t just throw numbers against other numbers to see what sticks. It tells a tragic story: the rich are getting richer, and our public schools are broke on purpose. And it comes to an indisputable conclusion: black, brown, and low-income students and their schools are owed billions of dollars.
That’s because many public schools do in fact work, but only when they are fully resourced, which tends to be in white, middle class, and affluent communities.

“These findings drive home that adding market forces to public education — so-called “school choice” — is a superficial and, even, harmful attempt at solving a deep and enduring problem. After being hijacked as a political project by private investors and billionaires, charter schools have begun to threaten the existence of public education itself. As they grow in number, they siphon more and more funding from school districts, forcing cuts at traditional, neighborhood schools. Charter schools are costing San Diego Unified School District, for example, over $65 million annually — or about $620 per neighborhood school student.”

The answer is clear: fully fund our public schools and drop the fantasy that the market will fix the problems of underfunded schools.