How the 2020 Census Affects Federal Education Funding
You may have heard about the upcoming 2020 national census in the news. The national census, which takes place every 10 years, aims to count every person living in the United States and collect their demographic data. This information serves as a guide for many important decisions, including how many congressional representatives each state gets and how state and local governments spend resources. But the census is critical to public schools as well and has enormous implications for how education is funded at the federal level.
“The census is critical to public schools as well and has enormous implications for how education is funded at the federal level.”
While Congress decides annually how much federal monies are appropriated to education, census bureau data decides where that money goes. Census data is the basis for determining how billions of dollars of federal education aid is allocated to state and local education agencies (LEAs or school districts), using formulas that factor in population of school-aged children and children in poverty. According to the Census Bureau, census data determines the distribution of Title I grants, where in FY2018 more than $15 billion was distributed to LEAs. Title IV-A also uses sections of the Title I formula, including the population of school-aged children, to distribute state and local allocations. Special education grants to states, rural education grants, funding for the Head Start preschool program, and Improving Teacher Quality state grants are also all determined using census data.
All of this is to say that the decennial census is vital to states and LEAs receiving adequate funding for education. For more information on the 2020 Census, go to 2020census.gov.
Matt Barusch, State Advocacy Engagement Manager, 24 January 2020. © National Association for Music Education (NAfME.org)