May 22, 2009

Shamless book plug in response to Kevin Carey

Kevin Carey has a very interesting personal history of school funding reform in Indiana, and then later writes that maybe he should have written differently, without "lie" as a verb.

In retrospect, titling that post "Lie To Me" and talking about hiding information from parents was a bad idea--as is blogging at 4 AM after a night on the town.

I'm tempted to forgive Carey if that (a late night on the town for stakeholders) is also the origin of the Indiana school-funding reform. That's the type of government caucus I can join!

It looks like Indiana is one of a very rare bird of state, one that equalized school funding without massive legal pressure. The only other case I know (though I could be missing others!): Florida, in 1973. See chapter 3 of Education Reform in Florida (Dorn and Borman, eds.). It looks like Carey's description is very different from what Deanna Michael and I learned about Florida, which was open, very political, and has been remarkably stable for several reasons. And Florida's equalization law was passed in the same year that the Supreme Court removed ALL legal pressures for Florida to do so. Yet they did it anyway.

No, the legislature wasn't being entirely altruistic. But to discover why, as well as to understand why the equalization law was more effective for those public purposes in the long run, rather than the short run, you need to buy the book! Or at least read it. (Disclosure: I get absolutely zero royalties; all the authors agreed to donate royalties to two small national learned societies and one local historical society in the Tampa area.)

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Posted in on May 22, 2009 12:10 AM |