Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Inhibiting Intrastate Inequalities: A Congressional Approach to Ensuring Equal Opportunity to Finance Public Education
Michigan Law Review has published an interesting student note, Inhibiting Intrastate Inequalities: A Congressional Approach to Ensuring Equal Opportunity to Finance Public Education, by Joshua Arocho. It is primarily a policy argument, premised on Congress using its spending legislation to encourage states to adopt a "Guaranteed Tax Base" for all districts. The abstract states:
The United States has exhibited a strong commitment to public education throughout its history. The local control of education long associated with the United States' federal system, however, has led to extreme inequalities in education finance within states. This reality, held constitutionally permissible by the Supreme Court in San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez, is a product of heavy reliance on local property taxation as a means to fund schools. Although levying property taxes is a permissible state action to promote local control of education, its unaltered use is archaic and ultimately detrimental due to the United States' growing income gap and corresponding wealth segregation in the housing markets. Because federal and state court litigation has produced an intractable and inequitable split in education policy that remains unsolved by current federal- and state-led initiatives, this Note argues that a conditional congressional grant of funds would serve as a new, more politically feasible solution to this problem. By making federal funding under the next reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act contingent on states' adoption of new school finance systems, particularly the Guaranteed Tax Base, Congress can encourage states to give all communities an equal opportunity to finance a high-quality education for their students, regardless of the value of their taxable property.
Download the full article here.