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Spending in nation’s schools falls again, with wide variation across states

The Washington Post – Emma Brown

“The nation’s per-pupil spending on K-12 public schools dropped in 2013 for the third year in a row, reversing more than a decade of funding increases, according to federal data released Wednesday. Spending continued to vary widely across the country, from a low of $6,432 per student in Utah to a high of $20,530 per student in the District of Columbia. The biggest spenders were largely clustered in the Northeast, while the lowest were in the West and Southeast…The new federal data were released on the heels of a report by the nonprofit Center on Budget and Policy Priorities showing that state governments in at least 31 states are contributing less to public education than they did in 2008, before the recession. “Our country’s future depends crucially on the quality of its schools, yet rather than raising K-12 funding to support proven reforms such as hiring and retaining excellent teachers, reducing class sizes, and expanding access to high-quality early education, many states have headed in the opposite direction,” the nonprofit’s report said. “These cuts weaken schools’ capacity to develop the intelligence and creativity of the next generation of workers and entrepreneurs.””(more)

Why the price tag of a college degree continues to rise

The Washington Post – Jeffrey J. Selingo

“Why does college cost so much? It’s a question parents, students, and politicians often ask and the answer is often elusive. There is much speculation about what is exactly to blame for college costs that tick up more and more every year above the rate of inflation and well above lagging family incomes. You’ve probably heard about a lot of reasons for the price surge: tenured professors, climbing walls, luxury dorms, too many administrators, overpaid presidents. But it’s almost impossible to isolate one or two causes…every year, researchers at the Delta Cost Project, which is run by the American Institutes for Research, attempt to make sense of higher education spending by explaining in detailed reports where the money to pay for college comes from and where it’s spent. Its latest report was released this month. Here are two key reasons its researchers said colleges costs continue to rise even in an era of low inflation:”(more)

Why states are cutting back on higher education funding

MarketWatch – Jillian Berman

“Just two states in the country are spending as much on higher education per student as they did before the recession…Even as the economy recovers, states’ level of funding for their higher education institutions hasn’t bounced back, the report found. The reasons for the cutbacks (or in two cases, the growth) in spending on colleges and universities vary based on state budget constraints, revenues and other factors…But there may also be a broader explanation for continued disinvestment in higher education, which is that it’s easy for policy makers to put funding for colleges and universities on the chopping block because constituents don’t get as agitated by the cuts as they would about say, a tax increase…”(more)

Back to School Savings

The Huffington Post – Money Tips

“Whether you are sending your kids off to kindergarten or to college, back-to-school time means a serious dent in your wallet. With some planning, however, you can limit the size of that dent. Here are some helpful hints:”(more)

Parents Spending More on Back to School, Starting Earlier

Education News – Jace Harr

“Back-to-school shopping is becoming increasingly expensive, and that appears to be the fault of technology. The Back-to-School Consumer Pulse Poll by the Rubicon Project was conducted in mid-June of this year, and surveyed 1,000 parents of students in K-12 and college, writes Leila Meyer of Campus Technology. Parents were found to be spending more this year on school supplies than in the past and were starting their shopping earlier. They also found that they needed more advanced and expensive technology just to meet classroom requirements, meaning that many parents will be buying laptops and tablets for their students this summer.”(more)

Nation’s per-pupil K-12 funding fell for second consecutive year in 2012

The Washington Post – Emma Brown

“After more than a decade of increases in per-pupil funding for K-12 public schools, the nation’s per-pupil spending dropped in 2012 for the second year in a row, according to data released Thursday by the National Center for Education Statistics…The downturn has come as federal stimulus funds dried up, shrinking the federal government’s aid to schools by more than 20 percent between 2011 and 2012. At the same time, many local governments saw their property tax base evaporate in the housing collapse and states wrestled with balancing recession-battered budgets…Cuts to education budgets have meant bigger class sizes and fewer programs in many schools; advocates argue that tight budgets have hobbled efforts to adjust to the new Common Core State Standards, expand access to pre-kindergarten and serve an increasingly needy student population.”(more)