Research Articles and Books


Courts and Kids: Pursuing Educational Equity Through the State Courts by Michael A. Rebell While federal courts have dramatically retreated, state courts have taken up the mantle of promoting the vision of educational equity originally articulated in Brown v. Board of Ed. This is the first detailed analysis of why the state courts have taken on this role and how successful their efforts have been. 2009
Moving Every Child Ahead: From NCLB Hype to Meaningful Educational Opportunity by Michael A. Rebell and Jessica R. Wolff Rebell and Wolff examine the No Child Left Behind Act and its impact on educational equity in policy. They argue for “meaningful educational opportunity,” explore existing policies and programs, and recommend steps to overcome historic inequities and current achievement gaps. 2008
The Price We Pay: Economic and Social Consequences of Inadequate Education by Clive Belfield and Henry M. Levin This book highlights the private, fiscal, and public costs of educational inequities. Drawing from “The Social Costs of Inadequate Education,” it considers demographic trends and policy interventions. 2007


Book Reviews

“Courts and Kids: Pursuing Educational Equity through the State Courts by Michael A. Rebell,” by Mark Paige Book Review of Courts and Kids: Pursuing Educational Equity Through the State Courts in American Journal of Education Policy August 2011
“Courthouses vs. Statehouses?” by William S. Koski Book Review of Courts and Kids: Pursuing Educational Equity Through the State Courts in Michigan Law Review April 2011


Research Articles

“Equal Opportunity and the Courts” by Michael A. Rebell Rebell argues that the adequacy movement is “the only game in town” for advancing equal educational opportunity. The article defends the movement from critics’ charges that adequacy suits have not resulted in improvement in student performance and that the state courts’ have overstepped their constitutional boundaries. February 2008
“Poverty, ‘Meaningful’ Educational Opportunity and the Necessary Role of the Courts,” by Michael A. Rebell This article argues for a “meaningful educational opportunity:” a comprehensive range of in-school and out-of-school services to children living in poverty. Rooted in federal equal educational opportunity laws and court decisions and in state education adequacy cases, these reforms cannot be achieved without the courts. June 2007
“Professional Rigor, Public Engagement and Judicial Review,” by Michael A. Rebell This article provides the first detailed analysis of judicial critiques of the state of the art of “costing out” studies and recommends improvements to the current practice of costing out. October 2006
“The Social Costs of Inadequate Education,” by Henry M. Levin A Summary of the 2005 Teachers College Symposium on Educational Equity. The article describes the consequences of inequality in education, the changing demographics in education, and the economic, social, and civic costs associated with inadequate education. October 2005
“Adequacy Litigations: A New Path to Equity?” by Michael A. Rebell This is the final chapter in Bringing Equity Back, arguing that adequacy litigation offers a new path towards equal opportunity and excellent education for all. Rebell maintains that adequacy lawsuits contain immense potential for achieving these principles, but only when combined with public and community engagement. May 2005
“‘Highly Qualified’ Teachers: Pretense or Legal Requirement? by Michael A. Rebell and Molly A. Hunter The authors contrast the promise of NCLB that only highly qualified teachers will be permitted to teach with the Dept. of Education’s regulations and state efforts–both of which fall far short of that goal. They argue that NCLB should require states to ensure highly qualified teachers are in all classrooms and point to education adequacy litigations that may compel that result. May 2004
“Of Course Money Matters: Why the Arguments to the Contrary Never Added Up,” by Michael A. Rebell and Joseph Wardenski The authors review the academic findings and court holdings that debunk the myth: money spent on poor and minority students is akin to throwing money away. Rather, money spent on qualified teachers, smaller class sizes, preschool initiatives, and academic intervention programs boosts student achievement dramatically – especially for poor and minority students. February 2004


Studies in Judicial Remedies and Public Engagement

Volume Two

“Building on Judicial Intervention: The Redesign of School Facilities Funding in Arizona,” by Molly A. Hunter Analyzes the Arizona litigations that challenged the education finance system for facilities and other capital. Documents an iterative decision-making process that led to the enactment of a capital funding system and discusses litigations that ask the courts to expand funding for English language learners and “at-risk” students. September 2003
“Inequitable Equilibrium: School Finance in the United States,” by Jeffrey Metzler Examines the relationship between changes in school finance systems for improving equity and the degree of equity achieved; uses voluminous data from all 50 states to determine measures of equity as the wealth neutrality score, targeting score, coefficient of variation, and McLloone index. June 2003
“Moving Mountains in the Granite State: Reforming School Finance and Defining Adequacy in New Hampshire,” by Drew Dunphy Analyzes the Claremont decisions on school finance in New Hampshire and the sweeping change they have brought on taxation and educational adequacy. Examines the role of public engagement in the state and the difficulty of implementing reform principles that require a comprehensive public dialogue and change in political will. March 2001
Rapid Response, Radical Reform: The Story of School Finance Litigation in Vermont,” by Michael A. Rebell and Jeffrey Metzler Analyzes one of the most far-reaching fiscal equity remedies in the nation; examines initiatives of legislature and rapid response to the state court decision that established precedents for defining an adequate education; looks at backlash against funding reform and examines benefits of public engagement within school funding conflict. October 2000
“Who’s in Control? The Courts, the Legislature and the Public in Colorado’s School Finance Debate,” by Christina Burnett and Drew Dunphy Analyzes effects of three litigations on state school finance system, even without a major plaintiff victory; examines impact of state constitutional amendments that limit school funding increases. Describes growing awareness of the need for statewide public dialogue. June 1999


Volume One

“Trying to Bridge the Gaps: Ohio’s Search for an Education Finance Remedy,” by Molly A. Hunter Traces public engagement work by statewide organizations, including an advocacy effort  by Ohio business leaders; examines on-going attempts to determine the actual costs of providing a ‘thorough and efficient’ education. February 1999
“Defining a ‘Basic Education’: Equity and Adequacy Litigation in the State of Washington,” by Diane W. Cipollone Charts on-going struggle to define a “basic education” in the state of Washington and efforts to determine the costs of providing such an education; details influence of public dialogue, describes  shift among some state legislators to focus on standards reform. December 1998
“Building Plans for Reform: Alabama’s School Finance Litigation,” by Jeffrey Scott Berman and Drew Dunphy Examines advocates and plaintiffs’ struggles to implement a sweeping court-ordered remedy; documents development of remedial plan and extensive campaign of public engagement. July 1998
“All Eyes Forward: Public Engagement and Fiscal Equity in Kentucky,” by Molly A. Hunter Traces fifteen years of advocacy and public engagement, whose activities have never been significantly documented, to help implement a court decision; provides a comprehensive overview of court orders and reform legislation. April 1998
“Fiscal Equity Litigation and the Democratic Imperative,” by Michael A. Rebell Examines plaintiff victories in fiscal equity decisions since 1989 within the “democratic imperative,” a resurgent manifestation of the  principles of American political culture that will no longer tolerate inadequate educational opportunities for disadvantaged children. January 1998
“Gambling on a Settlement: The Baltimore City Schools Adequacy Litigations,” by Diane W. Cipollone Discusses the Maryland adequacy litigations and education finance system and the political developments that led to a major eve-of-trial settlement in the case; examines earlier court rulings and defense arguments. November 1997


Other Articles

“Efficacy and Engagement: The Remedies Problem Posed by Sheff v. O’Neill — and a Proposed Solution” by Michael A. Rebell and Robert L. Hughes Reprinted from The Connecticut Law Review. Analyzes problems of remedies in Connecticut’s de facto segregation/fiscal equity suit; provides an overview of federal and state remedies in desegregation and fiscal equity cases; proposes a new public engagement-oriented remedy for Sheff and other statewide litigations. 1997
“Schools, Communities and the Courts: A Dialogic Approach to Education Reform,” by Michael A. Rebell and Robert L. Hughes. Reprinted from The Yale Law and Policy Review. Reviews reform initiatives and judicial intervention in educational policy disputes; argues that effective reform requires a revitalization of community involvement; provides and applies a dialogic method to controversies involving sex education, special education and fiscal equity reforms. 1996
“Fiscal Equity in Education: Deconstructing the Reigning Myths and Facing Reality,” by Michael A. Rebell Reprinted from The NYU Review of Law and Social Change. Provides a critical overview of fiscal equity litigations throughout the country from an advocacy perspective; proposes an approach to fiscal equity reform and a consideration of underlying political and legal issues.