On average, the largest categories for state spending are education (both K-12 and higher education) and healthcare.
The National Association of State Budget Officers reports that education spending accounts for approximately 38 percent of all state spending. Given the budget problems states face due to the recession, policymakers are confronted with major choices about how to pay for important government services and programs. With education taking up such a large part of the state budget, we should not expect it to be immune from budget cuts. Education is, and will continue to be, a top priority for the states.
An interim analysis by the National Governor's Association indicates that virtually every state mentions education as a priority. Governors recognize that education has implications for state's future prosperity.
Here are some of the NGA's findings:
- Despite budget shortfalls, several governors emphasized the need for early childhood education.
- A number of strategies are being proposed to improve school performance and efficiency including competitions and Block Grant Programs that encourage districts to be innovative and results oriented.
- Governors are working to stretch the value of education dollars by modernizing classrooms with an increase in virtual learning opportunities.
- Governors are advocating school choice, through open enrollment, vouchers and better charter school options.
- Governors are talking about the importance of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education.
- Governors are stretching higher education funding by moving to performance-based funding — tying funding for higher education institutions to completion and outcomes rather than enrollment.
- Governors recognize that access to higher education is critical to increasing degree attainment and building an educated workforce.
- Governors are talking about growing state economies and creating jobs. A main strategy discussed in the State of the State addresses is investing in public universities to enhance job growth in key economic sectors.
Education remains a priority. With that comes the need for quality educational products that enhance new learning methods such as group learning and incorporating technology into the classroom.
Follow us:Source: College Planning & Management Quick facts, June 2011