ERIC Number: ED473409
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2002
What Research Says about Unequal Funding for Schools in America. In Pursuit of Better Schools: What Research Says.
Biddle, Bruce J.; Berliner, David C.
Public school funding in America comes from federal, state, and local sources. Because nearly half of those funds are generated by local property taxes, the American system generates large funding differences between wealthy and impoverished communities. This paper reports on the characteristics of these financial inequities. It notes that sharp differences in public school funding appear both between the states and within many, but not all, states. Although most Americans are not aware of it, other advanced, industrial nations do not fund public schools with local property taxes; instead, they provide equal-per-student funding from general tax revenues for all schools throughout the state. Most Americans say they support equal funding for public schools, but affluent and powerful citizens often oppose efforts to correct funding inequities. This opposition may reflect ignorance about funding differences, unthinking acceptance of traditional methods for funding education, and selfish desires to keep personal taxes low. Legal and political efforts to reform inequities have been weak at the federal level, but considerable activity has recently taken place in state courts and legislatures. The paper concludes with a discussion of policy implications and recommendations for combating political and cultural resistance to reform. (Contains 74 references and 4 figures.) (RT)
Descriptors: Educational Equity (Finance), Educational Finance, Elementary Secondary Education, Politics of Education, Property Taxes, Public Schools, School Funds, Tax Allocation
Education Policy Studies Laboratory, College of Education, Educational Leadership & Policy Studies, Box 872411, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287-2411. Tel: 480-965-1886; Fax: 480-965-0303; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://edpolicyreports.org. For full text: http://www.asu.edu/educ/epsl/EPRP/EPSL-0206-102-EPRP.doc.
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Rockefeller Foundation, New York, NY.
Authoring Institution: Arizona State Univ., Tempe. Education Policy Studies Lab.
Note: Part of the Education Policy Reports Project (EPRP).