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America’s schools face a funding crisis

A growing segment of students who cost more to teach will test schools already strapped for cash

Why America’s school funding crisis is only getting worse

This segment originally aired Dec. 23, 2016, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.

American education spending fell by about $600 per student between 2009 and 2014. Meanwhile, public schools are enrolling a growing segment of students who cost states more to teach: English language learners.

Schools in Dodge City, Kansas, where education funding has dropped significantly since 2009, are experiencing the effects of these converging trends firsthand.

“The larger the classes get, the more likely it is we’re not going to be able to give all kids what they need,” Dodge City’s Superintendent Alan Cunnigham told VICE News correspondent Roberto Ferdman.

By 2025, almost 30 percent of all children in U.S. public schools will be Hispanic, according to the Department of Education. Many of them will be taking classes in English, even as they learn the language.

Like most parents, Dodge City resident Juan Torres said it was important that his son learn English. “So he doesn’t have to struggle as much as I do.”

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