Framing Equal Opportunity: Law and the Politics of School Finance Reform

By Michael Paris | Go to book overview

NOTES

NOTES TO INTRODUCTION

1. Kozol (1991).

2. To ask these questions is not to answer them, of course. School finance policy questions are complicated, and current arrangements have been defended on a variety of grounds. I provide a review of the normative and empirical policy debates in Chapter Tree.

3. For overviews of school finance reform litigation, see West and Peterson (2007). An appendix in West and Peterson provides a comprehensive review of litigation through 2005. See also Hanushek (2006); Koski and Reich (2006); Koski (2004); McUsic (1999, 2004); Hochschild and Scovronick (2003); Schrag (2003); Heise and Ryan (2002); Reed (2001), Ladd and Hansen (1999); Ladd, Chalk, and Hansen (1999); Ryan (1999a, b); Gittell (1998); and Enrich (1995). The best single source of current state-by-state information is the website of the Advocacy Center for Children's Educational Success with Standards (ACCESS), maintained by New York State's Campaign for Fiscal Equity and Teacher's College: www.schoolfunding.info. ACCESS reports that, between 1989 and 2007, plaintiffs won final court victories in no fewer than twenty states, while defendants won such victories in eleven states.

4. My conception of ideology is liberal and nonpejorative. An ideology is simply a set of culturally conditioned beliefs, “a symbolic framework in terms of which to formulate, think about, and react to political problems …” (Scheingold 2004: 14, quoting Geertz). Here, ideology runs back to individuals, albeit individuals situated in social milieus. It is simply a specific set of values, beliefs, and preferences, held by some specified social actors, about something in particular. Ideology in this sense is an inevitable fact of life for all human beings—it is the natural result of our “emotion-laden and partial response to the world and to others in it,” and it gives “any thinking person a sense of direction” (Shklar 1986: 4). Social actors may be more or less aware, or unaware, of what the observer interprets to be their ideological orientation. My use of the term ideology also signals that I

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