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Schoolhouses, Courthouses, and Statehouses: Solving the Funding-Achievement Puzzle in America's Public Schools

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Overview

"Massive 'reforms' have poured billions of dollars into our schools, but we have yet to see results in terms of student achievement. It is time that we step back from the current bureaucratic policies that emphasize central control and regulation. We need to reward success not failure. This is exactly the message of this thoughtful book by Hanushek and Lindseth. It is a message that should be shouted from the rooftops of Washington and every state capital."—William J. Bennett, Claremont Institute, former U.S. Secretary of Education

"Eric Hanushek and Alfred Lindseth do a remarkable job of shedding light on how we fund the education of America's children. In many cases, they find that, despite a tremendous increase in our financial investment in public schools during the last several decades, our students are falling farther behind their peers across the globe. We cannot continue to rely on arguments defending the status quo. School funding and education policy should empower leaders to advance innovative reform and ensure direct accountability for student achievement."—Jeb Bush, former governor of Florida

Hanushek and Lindseth have penned a clear, empirically impressive, and insightful critique of court-driven efforts to improve public schools. This is a book destined to reshape debates about the role judges can and should play in twenty-first-century school reform."—Frederick Hess, author of Common Sense School Reform

"This is a must-read for policymakers, parents, and the public. Too many people fail to understand the seriousness of the educational crises we face. Too many think that tinkering with the current system will be enough. This book not only sets out the dimensions of the problem clearly and forcefully but also provides a path for improvement."—Roy Romer, chairman of Strong Schools America, former Los Angeles school superintendent, and former Colorado governor

"The way we fund schooling in America defies both common sense and fundamental decency. However, as Schoolhouses, Courthouses, and Statehouses shows, most recent efforts to reform school finance haven't made nearly the difference their proponents promised. For those interested in improving results in public schools, this is a must read. Everyone—including me—will find something to disagree with. But the book is thoughtful, provocative, and helpful in framing the core elements of a more promising approach."—Kati Haycock, president of the Education Trust

"This book makes an important contribution to the subjects of school finance and school reform and the litigation surrounding them. The authors, a widely cited academic economist and an experienced lawyer who have both been involved in this litigation in many states, make a good team."—Michael Podgursky, author of Teacher Pay and Teacher Quality

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Editorial Reviews

Washington Post - Jay Mathews
It is enlightening, maddening, hopeful, frustrating and amazingly informative. . . . The book provides a terrific summary of how the U.S. education system has changed since World War II. It makes a telling argument about how much our well-being depends on our schools. It eviscerates the policymaking that has ruled public education for the last half century. And it buries for all time the notion that getting the courts to fix our schools has any chance of success.
Education Gadfly - Chester Finn
This important new book by economist Eric Hanushek and attorney Alfred Lindseth is the most cogent and comprehensive analysis of America's school-finance challenges that I have ever seen.
From the Publisher
One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2010

"It is enlightening, maddening, hopeful, frustrating and amazingly informative. . . . The book provides a terrific summary of how the U.S. education system has changed since World War II. It makes a telling argument about how much our well-being depends on our schools. It eviscerates the policymaking that has ruled public education for the last half century. And it buries for all time the notion that getting the courts to fix our schools has any chance of success."—Jay Mathews, Washington Post

"Hanushek and Lindseth conclusively enlighten policy makers, professors, school administrators, legal and educational researchers, and undergraduate and graduate students of school administration by providing an exhaustive discussion of decades of school funding and the results for student achievement. . . . The authors' experience and expertise in school funding, research, and data analysis and their ideas for the future of funding and accountability make this an absolute must read."—Choice

"This important new book by economist Eric Hanushek and attorney Alfred Lindseth is the most cogent and comprehensive analysis of America's school-finance challenges that I have ever seen."—Chester Finn, Jr., Education Gadfly

Washington Post
It is enlightening, maddening, hopeful, frustrating and amazingly informative. . . . The book provides a terrific summary of how the U.S. education system has changed since World War II. It makes a telling argument about how much our well-being depends on our schools. It eviscerates the policymaking that has ruled public education for the last half century. And it buries for all time the notion that getting the courts to fix our schools has any chance of success.
— Jay Mathews
Choice
Hanushek and Lindseth conclusively enlighten policy makers, professors, school administrators, legal and educational researchers, and undergraduate and graduate students of school administration by providing an exhaustive discussion of decades of school funding and the results for student achievement. . . . The authors' experience and expertise in school funding, research, and data analysis and their ideas for the future of funding and accountability make this an absolute must read.
Education Gadfly
This important new book by economist Eric Hanushek and attorney Alfred Lindseth is the most cogent and comprehensive analysis of America's school-finance challenges that I have ever seen.
— Chester Finn, Jr.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691130002
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 4/27/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 1,225,418
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author


Eric A. Hanushek is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and a leading figure in the study of the economics of education. Alfred A. Lindseth is a senior partner with the law firm of Sutherland Asbill & Brennan, and is a nationally recognized expert in school finance law.
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix
List of Tables xiii
Preface xv
Introduction 1

Chapter 1: Just How Important Is Education? 10
Education and Financial Achievement 11
Education and Poverty 15
Education and the Nation's Economic Well-Being 16
Testing Student Skills 20
Quality of U.S. Colleges 21

Chapter 2: U.S. Education at a Crossroads 23
Years of School Completed 23
Achievement Levels (or the Mastery of Cognitive Skills) 29
International Comparisons 36
Achievement Gaps 38

Chapter 3: The Political Responses 44
Increased Spending and Resources for K-12 Education 45
Increased Equity in Funding for K-12 Education 57
The Standards and Accountability Movement 71
Increased School Choice Options 76
Teacher Certification 80
Conclusions 82

Chapter 4: Court Interventions in School Finance 83
Federal Desegregation Litigation and Milliken II Remedies 84
"Equity" Cases 88
"Adequacy" Cases 95

Chapter 5: Practical Issues with Educational Adequacy 118
Defining an "Adequate" Education 118
The Element of Causation 129
Problems Relating to Remedy 136
Problems Inherent in the Makeup and Processes of the Courts 139

Chapter 6: The Effectiveness of Judicial Remedies 145
Kentucky 147
Wyoming 151
New Jersey 157
Massachusetts 166

Chapter 7: Science and School Finance Decision Making 171
A Simple Decision Model 172
How Much Is Enough? 173
How Should the Money Be Spent? 200
Using Science More Effectively 211

Chapter 8: A Performance-Based Funding System 217
Guiding Principles: Back to Basics 218
A Performance-Based Funding System 219
Big City Schools 258
Conclusions 260

Chapter 9: Making Performance-Based Funding a Reality 263
The Persistence of Illusory Spending Solutions 263
Support for the Status Quo and Resistance to Change 268
Some Current Countervailing Forces 275
Encouraging True Reform: Mutually Agreed Bargains 279
Changing the Focus of the Courts 281
Mobilizing for the Future 287

Notes 291
Legal Citations 353
Federal Court Cases (arranged in alphabetical order) 353
State Court Cases (arranged by state and, within states, chronologically) 354
Sources for Figures and Tables 361
References 363
Index 395

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