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ERIC Number: ED508950
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Aug-15
Pages: 46
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
Massachusetts' "Hancock" Case and the Adequacy Doctrine
Costrell, Robert
Education Working Paper Archive
The Hancock school finance case put the adequacy doctrine to its strictest test yet, to see if even a national educational leader such as Massachusetts could be found in constitutional violation. The doctrine failed this test, as the court found in favor of the defendants due to the vigorous reform program since 1993. The court credited the state's steady educational progress, closing of funding gaps between rich and poor districts, and its strong program of accountability and standards. None of this is relevant under the adequacy doctrine, which posits a constitutional funding requirement tied to specified educational outcomes. The lessons of Hancock are that courts need not accept the adequacy doctrine as the constitutional standard, but the best strategy to head off judicial intervention is to adopt Massachusetts-type reforms. (Contains 10 figures and 66 footnotes.)
Education Working Paper Archive. Department of Education Reform, University of Arkansas, 201 Graduate Education Building, Fayetteville, AR 72701. Tel: 479-575-3172; Fax: 479-575-3196; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: University of Arkansas, Education Working Paper Archive
Identifiers - Location: Massachusetts
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001