The Confidence Men: Selling Adequacy, Making Millions

Eric A. Hanushek
Published Date
Summer 2007
Education Next
pp. 73-78
Lawsuits aimed at compelling legislatures to increase school funding have been filed in some 42 states. Courts have found for the plaintiffs in more than half of the cases on the grounds that schools are not “adequately” funded (see Figure 1). These decisions have, in effect, changed the way education appropriations are made, moving decision making from legislatures to the courts. Instead of flowing from the political process, determinations of adequate appropriations come from judges who are informed by paid consultants.Recently, adequacy plaintiffs have suffered some serious setbacks (see legal beat, page 11). Undaunted, they soldier on.