Twenty-Five Years After Rodriguez: What Have We Learned?
by William S. Koski & Henry M. Levin — 2000
Twenty-five years ago, the landmark Supreme Court decision in San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez effectively closed the door on educational finance equity litigation in the federal courts. In that case, the high court ruled that despite the glaring disparity in funding between school districts in the San Antonio metropolitan area, the United States Constitution does not require that funding among school districts be equalized. Rodriguez was hardly the last word in school finance litigation, however, as educational finance reform advocates have turned to state courts and constitutions to bring about reform under theories of equity and adequacy in school funding. Using the twenty-fifth anniversary of Rodriguez as a milestone for reflection, this article examines three central assumptions that undergird the Rodriguez decision and fuel the unabated litigation over educational finance schemes: that dollars make a difference in educational outcomes, that courts and policymakers can develop standards for what is an “adequate” education, and that litigation will lead to equity in educational finance.
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