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Flunking DemocracySchools, Courts, and Civic Participation$
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Michael A. Rebell

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780226549781

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226549958.001.0001

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Civic Participation and the State Courts

Civic Participation and the State Courts

(p.50) Chapter Three Civic Participation and the State Courts
Flunking Democracy

Michael A. Rebell

University of Chicago Press

The Supreme Court’s rejection of the fiscal equity claims of the plaintiffs in the 1973 Rodriguez case shut the doors of the federal courthouses to advocates of education finance reform. As a result, these advocates turned to the state courts. Since 1973, there has been litigation in 45 of the 50 states, and plaintiffs have prevailed in most of these cases. This chapter provides an overview of these cases and considers their implications for establishing a clear constitutional right to an education adequate for preparing students to be effective citizens. Although a number of the state courts have discussed what an education for citizenship should entail, none of them have issued remedial decrees that would require states and school districts to enforce the applicable constitutional provisions. This chapter sets the stage for the proposals in chapter six that will discuss in detail the types of orders that state courts can and should issue to enforce students’ rights to an education adequate to prepare them for effective citizenship under most state constitutions.

Keywords:   education adequacy litigation, fiscal equity, sound basic education, Rose standards, state constitutions, education clauses, blue ribbon juries

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