New data from the National Center for Education Statistics show that the federal government has been commandeering a continually larger role in K-12 education in recent years, especially since 1999 and the January 2002 passage of the No Child Left Behind Act.
The new statistics include detailed financial data about school districts across the nation for the 2004-05 school year. Five years earlier, during the 1999-2000 school year, public school districts received an average of $578 per pupil from the federal government. By 2004-05, that number had risen to $919. That’s a 60-percent increase, and even after adjusting for inflation, it’s a 39 percent boost in federal aid. In this study we rank the states on how much more reliant they have become on Uncle Sam for this traditionally local government function.
There are several ways to quantify this increasing reliance on the federal government. The two we present in Table 1 are the absolute dollar amounts per pupil that the federal government sent to each state’s school system, and the percentage of each state’s education spending that comes from the federal government. The rightmost column shows how every state’s share of revenue from the federal government has changed since 1999-00.
Related: K-12 Spending Climate.