Nov 17, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Teachers union wants funding transformation to fight systemic racism

Photo of young students wearing masks walking to school
Photo: Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe via Getty

Inequities in education funding require a hard look as students of color struggle with lack of access to high-quality education, National Education Association (NEA) president Becky Pringle said at a virtual Axios event Tuesday.

Why it matters: Systemic racism is embedded in the structures of American education, and it sets up a stark divide between white students and students of color, who often do not share access to the same resources.

The big picture: The country’s most affluent schools are often a mile away from the country’s poorest, Pringle said. And at these public schools, a majority of students are often students of color.

  • “When you take a look, you will not see AP courses. You will not see counselors and nurses. You will see overcrowded classrooms. You will see ventilation systems that are outdated, crumbling buildings, things that tell the students themselves that adults in our systems do not care about them.”
  • 60 million students — 25% of all students — already lacked access to digital tools and online learning before the pandemic, according to Pringle. COVID-19 has widened that gap.
  • Studies show that increases in per-pupil spending lessen the chance of adult poverty for low-income students.

Go deeper: The public school funding divide

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