Those who study educational disparities know that money matters in education. And it’s not just about how much money is allocated, it’s about resource equity, that is, how effectively state and district leaders spend their funds and whether funds are distributed equitably.

From this perspective, the story behind this year’s lackluster NAEP results began nearly a decade ago. The eighth graders whose test results were captured by NAEP’s long-term assessment were born right before the Great Recession. They started kindergarten around 2012-13 as federal relief dollars for schools dried up, impacting the very factors that are essential to ensuring a high-quality learning experience.

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