After a brief overview of school finance litigation since Rodriguez and school desegregation cases since Brown, Part I argues that the "adequacy" model of reform addresses many of the underlying concerns of the equity model without sharing its methodological and strategic shortcomings. Part II focuses in more detail on Campaign for Fiscal Equity v. State ("CFE"). Part III argues that education reform that is implemented after a finding that a state has violated a state constitutional duty should: (1) equalize funding to the extent necessary to guarantee certain minimum necessary inputs such as qualified teachers, small class sizes, adequate physical infrastructure, and other instrumentalities of learning; and (2) take seriously Brown's proclamation that racial separation is inherently unequal. Part IV encourages courts to structure education reform remedies that: (1) envision a firm but limited judicial role to protect the constitutional rights of minorities from majoritarian failures without exceeding the courts' limited expertise and authority; (2) define adequacy specifically enough to minimize inter-branch tension and provide political cover for legislators who must make difficult decisions to implement education reform; and (3) prioritize collaborative decision-making involving courts, legislatures, state agencies, local school boards, unions, parents, local businesses, and civic organizations, partially through a process analogous to negotiated rulemaking in the administrative law context. Part V borrows several elements from environmental law and proposes a method for implementing education reform that makes state legislatures ultimately accountable for educational outcomes. Finally, Part VI explores some of the daunting challenges faced by education reform efforts and suggests that rigid ex ante injunctions may fail to account for the wide range of obstacles faced by school districts.
Quentin A. Palfrey,
The State Judiciary's Role in Fulfilling Brown's Promise,
Mich. J. Race & L.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mjrl/vol8/iss1/1