When given the $ amount, teachers less likely to say public school funding is too low

I recently posed the question, “How much money should public schools spend per student?” Depends on who you ask. School spending is easily one of the loudest debates in education, and it’s not going away anytime soon. (Take the current Minneapolis school district fiscal crisis looming on the horizon.)

Teachers’ unions continuously tell educators that government spending is never enough, that public school funding is too low, but getting them to commit to an actual dollar amount of what is considered enough is nearly impossible.

Interestingly, though, when teachers are told what their state spends per student, they are less likely to say public school funding is too low.

According to a recent EdChoice national poll of 1,000 K-12 teachers collected by Morning Consult, teachers are much less likely (-15 points) to say their state’s per student spending is “too low” when given a publicly reported statistic.

Respondents were first asked (without any information): “Do you believe public school funding in [STATE] is: Too low, about right, too high.” Sixty-seven percent of teachers responded funding was “too low.”

Survey participants were then told what their state spends on average per student attending public school each year and were asked again whether they believe public school funding is too low, about right, or too high. With this information, the number of teachers stating public school funding was too low dropped 15 percentage points (to 52 percent) among all teachers asked and even among district school teachers (from 71 percent to 56 percent). Also noteworthy is that the number of district school teachers who answered funding was “too high” increased 10 percentage points when given spending information.

Source: EdChoice, Morning Consult