The New Politics of Race and Gender: The 1992 Yearbook of the Politics of Education Association

By Catherine Marshall | Go to book overview

2

Categorical wars: Zero-sum politics and school finance

Thomas Timar and Dale Shimasaki

Passage of Proposition 13 and the California Supreme Court’s Serrano decision made California the first state to change from a locally funded to a centralized, state school finance system. The attraction of such a system to policymakers and school reformers was its assumed capacity to create a rational system of school finance—a system attuned to concepts of both vertical and horizontal equity. On the other hand, centralization created a new politics of school finance, as the decision-making arena shifted from local districts to the state legislature. Access to decision-making, mobilization of political coalitions and newly legitimated interests comprise the new political mix. This chapter examines how the new politics affects issues of ethnicity, manifested as tensions between urban, suburban and rural school districts. Demographic shifts threaten old political coalitions. This chapter examines the tensions in that change.


Introduction

In 1979, with voter enactment of Proposition 13 1 , California created a state school finance system. In spite of the disruptions caused by the measure’s fiscal restrictions, many—particularly advocates of school finance equalization reform—hailed the move toward full state assumption of school finance as a move toward greater equity. Certainly, the measure accelerated implementation of the California Supreme Court’s Serrano2 mandate to equalize spending among the state’s 1043 school districts to within $100 of one another. California voters accomplished, albeit unwittingly, what the legislature, at best, could have accomplished only over a prolonged period. 3 (Elmore & McLaughlin 1982)

The allure of a centralized, state school finance system is the promise of a more equitable school finance scheme. Issues that are difficult to address in locally fragmented and diverse funding systems can be addressed, hypothetically at least, more rationally in centralized, state-funded systems. The textbook version of an ideal school finance system is one that balances horizontal and vertical equity interests. Such state school funding plans reduce overall fiscal disparities among the majority of students, while attending to the special learning needs of others. This policy ideal should be more easily attainable when funding is centralized.

Like nearly all states, California’s prior school finance scheme relied principally on local property taxes. While advocates of such a system tout its virtues for local control, critics point to finance inequities as the price of such control. Had the state legislature been willing and capable, politically, of addressing issues of funding inequalities among districts, Serrano would not have been necessary, but Serrano in California and similar lawsuits in other states exist because the political system is not adroit at redistributive politics. Politicians are most successful when they have a growing revenue base. School finance politics prior to Proposition 13 was born of tensions between high and low wealth districts. The legislature’s response was to encourage equalization through

-19-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The New Politics of Race and Gender: The 1992 Yearbook of the Politics of Education Association
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 224

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.