RELEASE: The Great Recession Underscores the Need for a K-12 Education Stabilization Fund in Light of the Coronavirus

Washington, D.C. — As the national dialogue around school reopening continues and Congress returns to Washington to debate a new COVID-19 relief package, it is increasingly clear that K-12 education will need substantial stabilization funding to promote public health and fend off devastating cuts. Today, a new report from the Center for American Progress looks at how lessons from the Great Recession underscore the need for a K-12 stabilization fund.

Years into the economic recovery, state and local funding combined had yet to reach pre-recession levels in nearly half of states, despite some of these states choosing to cut taxes for big corporations. Moreover, cuts to state education corresponded with notable decreases in student test scores, significant teacher layoffs and pay cuts, and declining interest in the teaching profession.

In addition to a stabilization fund, the report outlines policy recommendations that Congress should consider in the next relief package, including:

  • Implementing maintenance-of-effort requirements to ensure that states do not reduce their K-12 spending
  • Establishing a permanent new federal commitment for funding education
  • Providing increased support for the academic, social-emotional, and health-related needs brought on by the pandemic

“The Great Recession showed us that without significant federal resources being allocated to K-12 education, states will be forced to cut education—exacerbating layoffs and putting critical student supports on the chopping block at exactly the time students need them most,” said Scott Sargrad, vice president of K-12 Education Policy at CAP. “The last recession also revealed the extent to which a lack of resources undermines student outcomes and educational equity, demanding cuts that fall disproportionately on Black, Latinx, and Indigenous students, as well as students from families with low incomes.”

Please click here to read “Why K-12 Education Needs More Federal Stimulus Funding” by Lisette Partelow, Jessica Yin, and Scott Sargrad.

For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Colin Seeberger at or 202-741-6292.

To find the latest CAP resources on the coronavirus, visit our coronavirus resource page.