High-quality and equitable education opportunities, ranging across early childhood, K-12, technical education, higher education and apprenticeships, are pivotal for the economic prospects of working people and their children.  Disparities in education funding and the resulting inequities in the programs and services provided to children and adults of different incomes and races can determine the earning potential for someone’s entire life.  EARN groups analyze how state and local school taxes are raised and how education funding is parceled out, showing the impact of current education policies and suggesting reforms that can improve educational outcomes and economic conditions for working families.



The Lost Decade

Texas AFT and Every Texan released a report highlighting “The Lost Decade” in Texas, a period in which underfunding schools has led to educators making less money than ever, with students facing the consequences of a crisis in keeping our teachers in the classroom.

As Texas AFT reported in February, a survey of its members showed that 66% had considered leaving their profession in the past year, and they said the primary motivator for keeping them in public education was increasing their salaries. “The Lost Decade” report, unfortunately, backs up their contention of low pay because it shows, on average, teachers are making 4% less than they were in 2010 (after adjusting for inflation). While 4% is the average, statistics show many educators making upwards of 12% less. Meanwhile, many support staff employees are still teetering at the federal poverty level with embarrassingly low wages.

The report explores how the latest school finance law, while initially plugging more money into public education, is mainly being used to reduce property tax rates and is not giving public education funding the ongoing boosts it needs to combat declining school employee wages. The report also looks at other issues driving teacher turnover and proposes solutions to address the challenges.


Greater investment in kids needed to help them thrive after the pandemic

  • June 21, 2021
  • Schmudget Blog

Every child needs access to food, health care, safe and stable housing, and education. However, hundreds of thousands of children in Washington state lacked these necessities prior to the pandemic. And the ongoing fallout of the economic and public health catastrophe has brought thousands more children face-to-face with challenges ranging from lost health insurance and bare pantries to the possibility of homelessness due to eviction or foreclosure.

Each year, the Annie E. Casey Foundation measures 16 indicators of child well-being across four domains – economic well-being, education, health, and family and community context – in their annual KIDS COUNT Data Book. Because this year’s Data Book does not capture the impact of the past year (that data will not be available until next year), the findings from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey (designed to measure household experiences since the onset of COVID-19) are an important supplement. Together, they help provide a fuller understanding of how children across Washington state have been faring – both before and during the pandemic.


Towards the Other Side: Past the Pandemic and Beyond to an Equitable Recovery

  • June 21, 2021
  • Nancy Wagman

Key Takeaways

  • Massachusetts ranked #1 nationally in measures of child well-being, but the state’s successes have been uneven.
  • Even before the pandemic, poverty rates for children of color and for children in Gateway Cities were double or more than the statewide average.
  • The pandemic hit communities unevenly and made disparities more stark.
  • Federal funds will help repair the damage caused by the pandemic.
  • The state budget will be a critical tool for building beyond recovery towards true equity.