Educational Inequity and Inadequacy

Resources on Inequity and Inadequacy in America’s Schools

More than 50 years after Brown v. Board of Education, there remain enormous inequities and inadequacies in the resources and funding provided to America’s schools. These inequities and inadequacies tend to favor wealthier, suburban school districts and often prevent students in urban areas, students from low-income backgrounds, and students from minority backgrounds from having an equal and meanginful educational opportunity. Here are some resources that outline these problems.

In May 2002, Michael A. Rebell testified before United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions during their hearing entitled “America’s Schools: Providing Equal Opportunity or Still Separate and Unequal.” His full testimony (PDF) provides a wealth of information on school funding inequities and inadequacies.

Issue Area Resources:

Funding: The Education Trust publishes a report every year entitled “The Funding Gap.” Here is the latest report, “The Funding Gap: 2005” (PDF).

Teacher Quality: The Education Trust published a report in June 2006 on the gap in teaching quality between higher- and lower-income districts entitled, “Teaching Inequality” (PDF).


Litigation-related Resources:

There are many cases from state courts where the court decision lists the ways in which education funding is inadequate.

For detailed background on the “adequacy” movement, read Courts and Kids: Pursuing Educational Equity through the State Courts (University of Chicago Press, 2009) by Michael A. Rebell.

For a more detailed historical background on school funding “adequacy” lawsuits, read “Education Adequacy, Democracy, and the Courts” (PDF), by Michael A. Rebell.

The first major school funding “adequacy” case is the 1989 Rose case from Kentucky. It is the “classic” ruling citing school funding inadequacies: Full Text of Decision | Background

Other major decisions include:

Other good sources include:

Last updated April 2010