A good overview on important work in school finance. The flat-to-regressive financing of schools nationwide represents a failure of state finance systems to overcome the inequities introduced by having local-based funding and control of schools.

The core purpose of state funding (and federal funding) is to take advantage of better funded, larger jurisdictions to do redistributive policy that counteracts the unequal opportunity caused by local funding. Our national failure to drive enough dollars through states through sufficiently progressive mechanisms results in a failure to equalize opportunity.

This is the real reason why zip codes define the destiny of children. It is not about district effectiveness or efficiency, but instead about district starvation of resources to meet the challenges they face, while others are awash in the money they need.

When we say we favor local control of education, we are advocating for maintaining a tiered system of access to resources and school quality. We are saying the rent or mortgage parents can afford and/or the distance they can travel for work defines the opportunity for their children.

Layering on our history of housing segregation and the drawing of school district and municipal boundaries to explicitly create white and not white, have and have not schools and communities, school finance fairness serves as a quantified keyhole through which we observe a state-supported caste system in the US.