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"Education Policy in Wonderland"

Charles Upton Sahm of the Manhattan Institute, writing on the Campaign for Fiscal Equity's New York school-finance suit, says Gov. George Pataki

should do everything he can to stop New York from traveling down the futile court-directed education-financing path that other states have followed. To date, the top courts in over half the states in the nation have declared urban schools in those states "inequitable" or "inadequate." But instead of giving poor minority kids an immediate remedy, such as a voucher, enabling them to take advantage of some of the same educational options that wealthier children enjoy, courts have ordered up boatloads more money to pour into dysfunctional urban systems. (Michael Rebell, the attorney who first launched the CFE and has since served as its co-counsel and executive director, has just announced that he will be joining Columbia Teachers College this fall to start a Campaign for Educational Equity, funded initially with $12 million, to export the CFE model �- that is, getting courts to order more money for the teachers' unions -� to still more states.)

New Yorkers need only look across the Hudson River to see the folly of this approach. New Jersey was a pioneer in the educational equity movement. Three decades of litigation have pushed the courts deeper and deeper into education-policy decision making, resulting in huge court-mandated increases in per-pupil spending, paid for with massive state and property tax hikes. Yet the targeted urban districts have seen little in the way of improved education results. Meanwhile, the tax increases have spurred a tax revolt among fed-up voters across the state.

More on school-finance suits: Jul. 22, etc.



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.