New Study Questions the Wisdom of Judicial Mandates for Education Spending

July 26, 2007

Most parents worry about the quality of the local public schools and try to ensure that their children receive the best education possible. But some people have taken the quest for improved public education a step further: to the courthouse. Over the past 30 years, lawsuits have come to be seen as a way to remedy alleged inadequacies in public education financing.

Courts in 27 states have found their states’ education spending to be constitutionally “inequitable” or “inadequate,” and legislators have responded by increasing education spending—and taxes.

But this method of increasing education funding is misguided and ineffective, according to a groundbreaking new study by the Tax Foundation, which reveals that these court mandates not only fall short of their goals, but also lead to long-term tax increases.

According to author Chris Atkins:

Lawsuits may be able to build schools, but they haven’t proven effective at teaching kids. Higher tax rates appear to be the only enduring result of these school finance lawsuits. This research questions the conventional wisdom that you can sue your way to a better school.

Click here to read the full study


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