All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Nevbahar Ertas

Advisory Committee Members

Michael Howell-Moroney

Donna Handley

Document Type

Thesis

Date of Award

2011

Degree Name by School

Master of Public Administration (MPA) College of Arts and Sciences

Abstract

LEGAL CHALLENGES TO PUBLIC EDUCATION FINANCE: EQUITY V. ADEQUACY J. MICHAEL MUNGER DEPARTMENT OF GOVERNMENT -- PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION ABSTRACT This research examines the nature of public education financing in the United States. When education became a cornerstone of public policy in America, federalism dictated that the responsibility of implementation be delegated to the states, and from the states to the constituent school districts. Oftentimes these districts came to be divided--accidentally or on purpose--along lines of race/ethnicity or socioeconomic status; this led to wide variations in education outcomes. Such after effects have come under greater scrutiny over the past few decades. As a result, concerned parties have sued the states failing to deal with the consequential resource disparity among their respective districts. The pur- pose of this paper is to review the changes in public education finance laws re- sulting from various "Equal Protection" lawsuits, and the effects said changes have had. A key theme of this evaluation is in examining the evolution of constitutional arguments juxtaposed to the change in social mores. To this end, meta- data has been compiled of relevant statistics sourced form a sample of states. The states chosen represent a diverse socioeconomic cross-section and are among the states that had to change their financing methods. The intent here is to decipher what if any corollary impact the respective changes have had, specifically in terms of demographic-based dropout and freshman graduation rates.

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