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Chapter 3 Legal Framework for Financing Public Education. Federal Role in Education. The federal government has a long precedent of providing education programs, funds, & initiatives to the states
The states are not willing to surrender control of education and the federal government can’t afford to pay its promised shareThe Tension Continues Today
Over the past decades, the federal powers have somewhat reduced the plenary nature of the states’ control of education.
All states except Hawaii (and the District of Columbia) delegate much of the authority for education to local school boards to be coordinated through the State Department of Education – also known as the State Education Agency (SEA)State Control of Education
Increasingly, federal courts are ruling against states in cases involving state’s education funding formulae, challenging equity and adequacySchool Finance & The Law
State & Federal Constitutional language
Vouchers and charter schools
Tuition tax creditsSchool Finance & The Law, cont.
& spending to pay for education
involved taxation in the Massachusetts Bay Colony to raise the necessary funds for education services – the 1647 Ye Olde Deluder Satan laws
the right to tax and spend
1. When the state has accepted a federal grant (NCLB, Drug Free Schools, etc.) and grant provisions require the state to comply with certain federal guidelines.
If states and localities do not comply, the federal government can force the state to comply.
2. A state action impacts the Commerce Clause (as in the case of United States v. Lopez).
In this case, the U.S. Congress made it a crime to have a gun within a school zone. A student brought a loaded pistol to school and was sent to jail under the Gun Free School Zone.
3. U.S. Constitutional rights are involved(as in Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District).
The school suspended students for wearing black arm bands to protest the Vietnam war. The Supreme Court ruled that a school policy cannot outweigh freedom of expression (speech) without reasonable knowledge that such an act of expression would have foreseeably substantially disrupted the school process.
Department of Agriculture's School Lunch program
Department of Education pays only
6% of total education spendingFederal $$$ to Schools Includes
Land was taxed at different rates if it were cleared, uncleared, or cultivated
Later, livestock and equipment was seen as a source of taxable propertyProperty Taxes in the 19th Century
If Farmer Brown’s land were worth more than Farmer Jones’ land, Farmer Brown would pay more in property taxes
The tax rate, however, would be uniform throughout the state or localityProperty Taxes in the 19th Century, cont.
The Fourteenth Amendment, ratified in 1868:
No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.“Equal Protection” & Taxation
The 14th Amendment was clearly an attempt to legislate civil rights after the war“Equal Protection” & Taxation, cont.
Equal protection does not require identical treatment. It only requires:
This time the equal protection clause was linked to federal spending.Civil Rights Act of 1964
Any state that provided fewer dollars for poor school districts denied those children equal protection under the lawCivil Rights Act of 1965
Since the ideas could not then be addressed with research or consensus, the Court refused to declare the finance systems unconstitutionalTwo Court Cases Litigated Under Equal Protection Clause
The Court determined:
Education was a fundamentalinterest
The basic state aid did tend to equalize among the disparate school districts1977 California Supreme Court Case
wealth, but by the state’s overall wealth
After Rodriguez, for all intents and purposes, litigation for school finance reform under the umbrella of the equal protection clause ended.
The courts use 3 tests to decide if government actions that treat individuals differently for any reason violates the equal protection clause:
The court is not looking for scientificdata to substantiate the claim -- only for a rational relationshipTest 1: The Rational Relationship Test
For the state’s action to be upheld requires a greater level of government interest in the outcomeTest 2: The Intermediate Test, cont.
At this highest level of reasoning, the government must show a compelling or overriding state interest in the differential treatment of individuals, andno less discriminatory manner exists for the government in accomplishing this overriding interestTest 3: Strict Scrutiny
(a) When a fundamental right is affected
(b) When the action taken by the government creates a suspect classification of individualsTest 3: Strict Scrutiny, cont.
Serrano v. Priest:
Based on the strict scrutiny standard, the court found the finance model to be unconstitutional.
San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez :
The Texas Judges said that since education is a state function, the quality of education should not be determined by the locality’s wealth, but by the state’s overall wealth.
The U.S. Supreme Court REVERSED this decision.
San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez :
Justice Powell, writing for the U.S. Supreme Court majority, maintained that education was not a fundamental right afforded by the Constitution under the equal protection clause.
The US Supreme Court then reverted to a lower standard for examining the case – the rational relationship test instead of strict scrutiny.
The state’s “education clause”
State education clauses have been the basis for many legal challenges to state finance models over the past 20 yearsState and Federal Constitutional Language
“By 1750, …new secular interests began to take the place of religion as the chief topic of thought and conversation. Secular books began to dispute the earlier monopoly of the Bible…These changes manifested themselves …many ways in education. New textbooks, containing less of the gloomily religious than the New England Primer, and secular rather than religious matter, appeared and began to be used in the schools.”
By 1820, education had moved from private schools (run by individuals, churches, incorporated school societies) and state schools for the poor to a loosely organized public school system of secular interest.
A conflict loomed: The Battle for Free State Schools.
With conflict about the mission of the public schools, conflict about funding could be far behind.
school secularization, some said
that if people did not agree with how
the public schools were run, taxpayers should be allowed to have that portion of school taxes returned so those funds could be used to provide an education more closely resembling parents’ wishes
Taking their stock of public funds and using the monies to establish schools more to their liking is essentially what today’s vouchers, charter schools, and tuition tax credits advocates try to do.
ruled in the Bagley v. Raymond case that the 1980 ban on religious schools receiving state monies is not unconstitutional
court was hearing the Bagley case, Strout v. Albanese raised the same funding issue in federal court
to include non-sectarian schools
declined to hear the case
The legal conflict between the Massachusetts parents who believed that the schools had failed by becoming more secular in curriculum & pedagogy & the more progressive legal and educational writers of the early to mid 1800s has been resolved. Public monies can fund private or parochial education.
The philosophical discussion will continue.
Operated under public supervision & direction
Designed with specific educational objectives
Non-sectarian in programs, admissions, policies, & employment practices
Not affiliated with a sectarian school or religious institutionRedefinedCharter Schools, 1990’s
In compliance with federal civil rights legislation
Students admitted by lottery
Operated in compliance with state law
In compliance with federal and state financial audit requirements
In compliance with federal, state, & local health & safety requirementsRedefinedCharter Schools, 1990’s, cont.
The State Supreme Court held that since the legislature declared the charter schools to be public schools,