Conceptions of Equity and Adequacy in School Finance

Authored by: Bruce D. Baker , Preston C. Green

Handbook of Research in Education Finance and Policy

Print publication date:  November  2007
Online publication date:  August  2012

Print ISBN: 9780805861440
eBook ISBN: 9780203961063
Adobe ISBN: 9781135863890


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This chapter provides an overview of recent literature on conceptions of educational equity and adequacy applied to state school finance policy in the United States. Equity conceptions deal primarily with variations or relative differences in educational resources, processes and outcomes across children, whereas adequacy conceptions attempt to address in more absolute terms, how much funding, how many resources or what quality of educational outcomes are sufficient to meet state constitutional mandates. State constitutions address explicitly state legislatures' responsibility toward public schooling. The fact that the U.S. Constitution does not do so, however, leads to significant limitations for resolving inequities or inadequacies in public schooling nationwide. Equity and adequacy remain issues governed primarily by state courts and legislatures.

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