Toward a contextual analysis of school finance adequacy litigation in the U.S.

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Dawn-Fisher, Lisa

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While early school finance reform efforts focused on the question of equity in school funding, current reformers are concerned with the question of adequacy. Driven by the accountability movement in education policy, the adequacy movement emphasizes the linkage between student performance and school funding. Like the equity movement, the adequacy movement has resulted in numerous legal challenges and decisions by state courts regarding the constitutionality of their states’ school finance systems. This study follows the ground-breaking work of other researchers including Karen DeMoss (2001, 2004), Paula Lundberg (2000), and Karen Swenson (2000), who take a contextual approach to analyzing court decisions related to school finance litigation using logistical regression and statistical cluster analysis. The present study employs event history analysis to examine policy adoptions across time in order to identify the conditions and factors that influence the diffusion of adequacy-based school finance policy.