While corporate profitability, Miami's condo market, and San Francisco real estate have all boomed since the Great Recession hit seven years ago, America's public schools across the country are still suffering.
The U.S. Department of Education reports that America's public schools employed 200,000 less workers in 2014 (the last year this data is available) than it did in 2008. Yet, public schools now serve one million more children, and those workers are being paid less to serve them all.
Of the 25 states still spending less per student than it did before the recession, seven of them are spending more than 10% less per student. A drastic shortcoming for a public school, according to this advocacy piece from New York magazine's Daily Intelligencer:
Schools in Arizona, Kansas, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin have been devastated as much by supply-side tax cuts as by the global financial crisis. By contrast, California was able to restore much of its pre-recession school budget by levying higher sales and income taxes on wealthy residents.
Still, even states that aren’t sacrificing their children on the altar of Reaganomics could have trouble maintaining the quality of their public schools in the coming decades, absent a change in federal policy. The graying of the baby boom generation will take a toll on state health care and pension spending. And unlike the federal government, states can’t afford to run deficits (and/or print their own money). What’s more, our public education system’s current spending levels are proving insufficient to attract top talent into teaching.