Thursday, May 28, 2020



The reliance on local funding sources has led to a long history of court challenges about how states fund their schools. These challenges have relied on interpretations of state constitutions after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that school funding was not a matter of the U.S. Constitution (San Antonio independent school District v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 1 (1973)). The state court cases, beginning with the California case of Serrano v. Priest, 5 Cal.3d 584 (1971), were initially concerned with equity in funding, which was defined in terms of variations in spending across local school districts. More recently, state court cases have begun to consider what has been called 'adequacy.' These cases have questioned whether the total amount of spending was sufficient to meet state constitutional requirements. Perhaps the most famous adequacy case is Abbott v. Burke, 100 N.J. 269, 495 A.2d 376 (1985), which has involved state court supervision over several decades and has led to some of the highest spending of any U.S. districts in the so-called Abbott districts. The background and results of these cases are analyzed in a book by Eric Hanushek and Alfred Lindseth.[161] That analysis concludes that funding differences are not closely related to student outcomes and thus that the outcomes of the court cases have not led to improved policies.

In McCleary v. Washington State (2012),[162] Supreme Court decision that found the state had failed to "amply" fund public education for Washington's 1 million school children. Washington state had budgeted $18.2 billion for education spending in the two-year fiscal period ending in July 2015. The state Supreme Court decided that this budget must be boosted by $3.3 billion in total by July 2019. On September 11, 2014, the state Supreme Court found the legislature in contempt for failing to uphold a court order to come up with a plan to boost its education budget by billions of dollars over the next five years. The state had argued that it had adequately funded education and said diverting tax revenue could lead to shortfalls in other public services.[163]

While the hiring of teachers for public schools is done at the local school district level, the pension funds for teachers are usually managed at the state level. Some states have significant deficits when future requirements for teacher pensions are examined. In 2014, these were projected deficits for various states: Illinois -$187 billion, Connecticut -$57 billion, Kentucky -$41 billion, Hawaii -$16.5 billion, and Louisiana -$45.6 billion. These deficits range from 184% to 318% of these states' annual total budget.[164]

Funding for college[edit]
At the college and university level student loan funding is split in half; half is managed by the Department of Education directly, called the Federal Direct Student Loan Program (FDSLP). The other half is managed by commercial entities such as banks, credit unions, and financial services firms such as Sallie Mae, under the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP). Some schools accept only FFELP loans; others accept only FDSLP. Still others accept both, and a few schools will not accept either, in which case students must seek out private alternatives for student loans.[165]

Grant funding is provided by the federal Pell Grant program.

Major issues include assessment of proficiency versus growth, funding and legal protection of special education, and excessive student loan debt.

American education crisis[edit]
It has been alleged, since the 1950s and especially in recent years, that American schooling is undergoing a crisis in which academic performance is behind other countries, such as Russia, Japan, or China, in core subjects. Congress passed the National Defense Education Act in 1958 in an attempt to rectify these problems, and a series of other legislative acts in later decades such as No Child Left Behind. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, however, American students of 2012 ranked 25th in math, 17th in science, and 14th in reading compared with students in 27 other countries.[166] In 2013, Amanda Ripley published the popular book The Smartest Kids in the World (And How They Got That Way), a comparative study of how the American education system differs from top-performing countries such as Finland and South Korea, but she found some students in South Korea spent over 12 hours per day in the classroom, with evening tutors, plus 2 months longer, while Finland demanded teachers attend extra teacher training and pass rigorous checks which 80% of teachers failed.[167] Rather than using some clever learning techniques, instead the teachers and students were forced to spend extra, rigorous time in training or double hours to improve results, which in some cases faded away after a year, although the testing of results was also questionable.[167] The author also noted U.S. teachers generally failed to have extra training and selection which could mean better teaching, but also indicated the U.S. could benefit from a culture which valued some higher intellectual levels.[167]

Recent allegations take the perspective of employers who demand more vocational training. Voters in both major parties have been critical of the Common Core initiative.[168]

middle- and upper-class non-Asian people of color at the expense of lower class European Americans and Asian Americans.[171]
African American academics Henry Louis Gates and Lani Guinier, while favoring affirmative action, have argued that in practice, it has led to recent black immigrants and their children being greatly overrepresented at elite institutions, at the expense of the historic African American community made up of descendants of slaves.[172] In 2006, Jian Li, a Chinese undergraduate at Yale University, filed a civil rights complaint with the Office for Civil Rights against Princeton University, stating that his race played a role in their decision to reject his application for admission.[173]

determinants of class and status.[citation needed] As with income, however, there are significant discrepancies in terms of race, age, household configuration and geography.[175]
Since the 1980s the number of educated Americans has continued to grow, but at a slower rate. Some have attributed this to an increase in the foreign born portion of the workforce. However, the decreasing growth of the educational workforce has instead been primarily due to slowing down in educational attainment of people schooled in the United States.[176]

Remedial education in college[edit]
Despite high school graduates formally qualifying for college, only 4% of two-year and four-year colleges do not have any students in noncredit remedial courses. Over 200 colleges place most of their first-year students in one or more remedial courses. Almost 40% of students in remedial courses fail to complete them. The cause cannot be excessively demanding college courses, since grade inflation has made those courses increasingly easy in recent decades. [177][178]

Gender differences[edit]
According to research from within the past 20 years, girls generally outperform boys in the classroom on measures of grades across all subjects and graduation rates. This is a turnaround from the early 20th century when boys usually outperformed girls. Boys have still been found to score higher on standardized tests than girls and go on to be better represented in the more prestigious, high-paying STEM fields. There is an ongoing debate over which gender is the most short-changed in the classroom.[179] Parents and educators are concerned about how to motivate males to become better students.

Racial achievement differences[edit]
Several reasons have been suggested for these disparities.

One explanation is the disparity in income that exists between African Americans and Whites. This school of thought argues that the origin of this "wealth gap" is the slavery and racism that made it extremely difficult for African-Americans to accumulate wealth for almost 100 years after slavery was abolished. A comparable history of discrimination created a similar gap between Hispanics and Whites. This results in many minority children being born into low socioeconomic backgrounds, which in turn affects educational opportunities.[182]

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