When it comes to things like the economy or the military, the United States is considered among the strongest countries in the world.
But when it comes to education, the U.S. isn’t making the grade, says Dr. Tanji Reed-Marshall with the Education Trust, a Washington D.C.-based group that aims to pinpoint and fix problems and inequities in education.
Through nationwide research, Dr. Reed-Marshall found fixing our schools’ funding could be the ticket to better curriculums, improving classroom leadership and creating quality education in America.
"It's really important for us to understand how we think through where dollars go," says Dr. Reed-Marshall.
Dr. Reed-Marshall says the $59 billion in federal funding is not enough and isn’t going to the right places.
"In this country, zip code still tells the story about what you're likely to receive and the quality of it," says Dr. Reed-Marshall.
Teacher Chrystal Miller stresses the notion that all areas aren’t created equal when it comes to getting a piece of the education pie. If she had to give education funding an overall grade, she says it’d be a D or an F.
Miller came from a rural public school in Arkansas to the Washington Leadership Academy, a public charter in D.C. She says the difference in zip code is night vs day, and it shouldn’t be that way.
"Schools and students should be funded based on their need and not necessarily because you're at this zip code or you have this kind of family background or this kind of economic status,” Miller says.
According to research by the Education Trust, students who live in lower income areas get about $1,800 fewer tax dollars per student.
Dr. Reed-Marshall says tax dollars drive education dollars. She believes there needs to be equal distribution of the tax dollars to raise the U.S. to the top of the ranks and in order to create an even and quality playing field, regardless of where students live.