A Level Playing Field: School Finance in the Northeast by Jane Fowler Morse

By Jane Fowler Morse

Examines the criminal and political information of college investment reform in manhattan, Vermont, and Ontario.

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During the twentieth century, high school became common. By the end of the twentieth century, some form of higher education—vocational training or college, and some graduate or professional school—became the norm for many. 83 But surely citizens of a democracy want a standard higher than this in a complex world where children have, on the whole, less adult supervision, and must make, as adults, more decisions requiring critical thinking skills and knowledge of complex technological, social, political, scientific, and economic issues.

If gaps in disaggregated test scores94 are taken to indicate that poor and minority children need more resources for an adequate education, NCLB will prove beneficial, but not if such gaps are taken to mean that money spent on these children is wasted. 95 Too often, reform consists of doing more of what was not working in the first place. Neither does instituting more testing constitute a reform. It is expensive and does not result in innovative pedagogy, an improved curriculum, or smaller classes, which are known to improve educational results.

In most states, tax rates are far from uniform. The concept of tax effort—how much a community is willing to tax itself for the support of education—must include consideration of a community’s assessed property evaluation. State aid, which is supposed to remedy deficiencies created by unequal tax bases, often fails to work. 98 As documented in the Rodriguez and Edgewood cases in Texas, the Brigham and Stowe cases in Vermont, the New York cases, and many more, including the landmark Serrano cases in California, property-poor districts have to pay taxes at a much higher rate than property-rich districts to maintain even minimal facilities.

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