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GOP Legislatures Fighting to Keep Money Out of Poor Schools

Unequal funding results in unequal education

Where is Robin Hood when you need him?

A new report published by the Center for American Progress disclosed several cases where GOP-led legislatures attempted to punish judges who ordered the state to provide more funding for disadvantaged school districts.

Public schools receive most of their funding from local state property taxes, which naturally means that schools in districts with higher property taxes and wealthier residents receive much more funding than schools in lower-income areas.

Without assistance from the government, it could easily turn into the age-old tale of the rich getting richer while the poor get poorer.

Most state constitutions specifically decree that all school-age children should receive adequate education, but in four states that provision wasn’t enough to keep legislators from attempting to keep money out of low-income districts.

In New Jersey,  Alaska, Kansas and Washington, legislators tried to stop all funding for the courts or restrict the authority judges have over distributing financial resources.

GOP legislatures keep money out of poor schools


New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie has already been in serious hot water during his term, and this was no exception.

According to the report, the New Jersey governor “threw a respected justice off the bench by denying him tenure” in what some have deemed an “unprecedented power grab.” The incident was Christie’s response to the Supreme Court ruling that his 2010 budget cuts to education were unconstitutional.

In Kansas, a high-profile case that involved school funding brought Republican Governor Sam Brownback some trouble back in January.

Brownback “warned that an order for a specific funding increase could lead lawmakers to consider a constitutional amendment to change the way that high court justices are appointed,”  as the courts were still trying to reach a verdict in the case.

Despite his attempt to intimidate the judges, a court ruling still favored equal and fair education.

The Kansas Supreme Court found the state’s funding system at the time was unconstitutional and immediately ordered the reversal of previous budget cuts.

Billy Corriher, the author behind the report and the director of research for legal progress at American Progress, explained what made the  findings so troubling.

“If you have judges out there who know that legislators are going to try to kick them off the bench or try to change the way they’re appointed or limit their authority if they rule a certain way, that judge might be hesitant to make the legislator angry,” Corriher told the Huffington Post.

It is ultimately a huge threat to the system of checks and balances that serves as the foundation for America’s justice system.

“[Legislators] feel like any time a court orders more money, the court is violating the separation of powers…But if the courts aren’t able to judge the legislature then we are letting the legislature be the judge for itself,” Corriher added.

There are currently several other cases in state courts that address the issue of school funding and unequal education.

What people are saying

2 thoughts on “GOP Legislatures Fighting to Keep Money Out of Poor Schools

  1. Allen Thomas says:

    Farntella Graham I am a product of the public school system myself and there are many find teachers there. But unions have given sanctuary to criminals who teach our kids. It's practically impossible to fire a public school teacher. But that's what unions tend to do…protect their members no matter what a menace or danger they are to their students. And tenure is a problem too. Image, being at a job so long that you're granted a kind of immunity to being criticized, much less fired. What a ridiculous notion. In charter schools this doesn't exist…the best teachers are retained and paid better then those whose students don't perform so well. And they tend to operate with a lot less money per student. Parents should have the choice to send their child to a well performing public school or, to avoid an underperforming school, they should have the option of using vouchers to send their children to a charter school. Alas, the Democrats (the real party of "no") are shills for teacher unions. They both fight to deny ordinary people the choice of using vouchers for private education, and aggressively fight charter schools (yet many of these elites send their children to private schools). As for common core, this in more about indoctrination then education. Sadly, too many people pay good money for a college education, to learn about things that simply are not so. The Common Core curriculum offers a grossly distorted, one-sided world view that touts progressivism, lowers the bar to pass from one grade to the next, and stifles critical thinking. It has the leveling effect to ensure no one really stands out so that, in the end, we are more easily lead by our masters. Thanks for your question.

  2. the public school system is another racist piece of sh55 system and now people are demanding better so the public system has no answers to their failures. so lets be honest.

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