A recent guest piece by Bill Keim in The Seattle Times's Education Lab Blog points out some sobering numbers about education funding in Washington, particularly considering the Supreme Court ruling that the state of Washington is not adequately funding public education.
Particularly interesting is the infographic from the Washington Association of School Administrators that compares Washington's per-pupil funding over time as compared to the national average, to Massachusetts (similar in demographic, economy, and education standards), and to Alabama (historically under-funded and under-performing by various measures).
Simply put, our state has been in neutral while Massachusetts, Alabama, and the nation as a whole has been in high gear.
And here's the problem with that: As of right now, Washington's schools seem to be performing well.
This is of course a problem for two reasons. First, it weakens the argument that Washington schools need to be better funded. Second, it runs the risk of leading people to believe that good performance can be sustained without resources.
The last three years in my classroom I have been living the good life. Due to local support, my program received funding that provided me access to desktop computers every day, every period for each my 9th grade English students. Every day, if I want, I can have my students use technology to consume and produce meaningful texts and engage with content in exciting ways. Instead of having to rely upon the (decades old) literature anthology on the shelf, the whole world can be our textbook thanks to the technology--which of course, came with a cost.