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Courts and KidsPursuing Educational Equity through the State Courts$
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Michael A. Rebell

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780226706191

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226706184.001.0001

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The State Courts' Active New Role

The State Courts' Active New Role

(p.15) Chapter Two The State Courts' Active New Role
Courts and Kids
University of Chicago Press

As the Supreme Court's insistence on effective remedies in school desegregation cases began to flag in the 1970s, civil rights advocates initiated new legal challenges in state courts to the systems that most states had used to finance public education. Constitutional challenges to the inequitable and inadequate funding of public education have been litigated in the state courts of forty-five of the fifty states since 1973, and, in recent years, plaintiffs have won almost 70 percent of them. Many of these lawsuits resulted from a growing awareness among civil rights lawyers that substantial resources would be needed to overcome the accumulated vestiges of school segregation and that most minority students still attended school in poor urban or rural school districts that were substantially underfunded in comparison with schools in affluent, largely white suburban districts. This chapter examines the state courts' involvement in the education finance and “sound basic education” litigations over the past thirty years, focusing on the extraordinary pattern of plaintiff victories in those cases since 1989 and their significance.

Keywords:   education, school desegregation, state courts, education finance, public education, school segregation, lawsuits, civil rights, minority students, rural school districts

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