The Scholar: St. Mary's Law Review on Race and Social Justice


Wealth and property are not equally distributed in America, and these inequities are exacerbated by the American school system. The current school system is community-centered, meaning children living in poorer districts do not have access to the same level of education as children living in wealthier districts. The comment discusses the impact that budgeting decisions have on community perceptions and expectations, as well as how community favoritism plays a role in the education financing equation. Finally, the author proposes eliminating what is essentially an “educational caste system,” and discusses how to change the attitudes of society and alter the ways society collects and allocates money to schools. A large percentage of school district funds are raised at the local level through property taxes. Property-rich districts have more money to spend on schools and typically have lighter tax burdens than those living in property-poor districts. Property-poor districts typically have higher tax rates and inferior schools, leading to few incentives to bring in new residents and businesses. These struggling districts need good teachers and administrators, but the problems they face make it difficult for these districts to recruit and retain these types of educators. The author of this comment argues in favor of centralizing oversight of education policy, rather than leaving it in the hand of the local school board members. The comment further advocates for elevating education to a fundamental right status and explains how doing so will help address the discrepancies that children living in property-poor school districts face each day. Ultimately, the comment calls for action because the current educational system treats students differently based on the wealth of the district they live in, and this must be remedied.

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St. Mary's University School of Law



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