Writer’s choicReview the Supreme Court’s decision in the case San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez and discuss how this case set the stage for future constitutional activity regarding state education finance systems (3-5 pages).e
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Review the Decision: San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez
Public school financing in Texas is a product of both state and local funding. A sizeable amount of the funds the schools receive come from state-funded programs whose aim is to provide the same minimum educational requirements; regardless of the area on which the schools are, or the composition of the school district. However, that practice menaces the poorest districts in the state of Texas. Given the fact that each school district calculates the amount of state aid compared to the value of propriety taxes, many schools placed in districts with low propriety tax are menaced by that practice. What is true is that the legislation seems to benefit the richest districts, who receive a substantial amount of state aid that they might supplement with funding from other sources, leaving most of the state aid to districts that cannot get the funding they need in other ways or asking the school stakeholders.
In the same way, the school districts in Texas are known for having financial issues; favoring certain districts over others, and falling short when providing enough funding to schools. Rodriguez, a member of the Edgewood Concerned Parents Association, pointed the issue out and considered that it was unconstitutional that richer districts had more funding that the poor ones. That way, Edgewood could not hire adequate personnel, nor provide the facilities the school’s pupils needed.
This case presents us a situation of inequity that not only happens in Texas; at least fifteen states in the country have similar practices of fiscal equality among their school districts (Macchiarola & Diaz 554). With that kind of situations in mind, the funding mechanisms have changed from the former stance on “per-pupil” spending on a more adequate position that provides comprehensive care to the students in a qualitative way, instead of focusing on quantitative goals of students. In the same way, the students who receive less funding are those who need it the most. This present us an ethical issue because if poor districts receive less funding, those pupils would not be able to attain the education they need to overcome their situation and improve their lives.
When Rodriguez’s pointed that situation, Texas was among the states where more disparities occurred. In the 1967-68 school year, the wealthiest school districts in Texas raised approximately $610 per student, whereas the poorest raised only $63 (Sutton 1967).That is why Rodriguez’s lawsuit has a significant amount of importance when reviewing the state of the country’s education. Besides, it poses the question of whether the Supreme Court can effectively rule education related matters and include education among the fundamental rights American citizens have the right to attain.
Strictly speaking, we consider that the case of Rodriguez gave the Supreme Court the possibility of doing a substantial change in how the funding is equally distributed among schools and failed to do so. In situations like the one presented, the Supreme Court should act as a moral beacon, serving the country and keeping the constitution safe, preventing situations that could hinder the citizen’s rights. In the same way, the case provides us with a view on how litigations regarding the coverage that the fourteenth amendment has, and the protection it provides. Also, there is the issue of what is considered adequate concerning education. Perhaps the San Antonio School District had enough funding to give the minimum education to its students but, is minimum enough when other districts have sufficient funding to provide their students with quality education? Most certainly not.
To say that the Constitution, neither explicitly nor implicitly means that individuals have the right to be educated is a way to perpetuate poverty, and ignorance (Ogletree 521). In the same way, the ruling of the Supreme Court only demonstrates that education has to be considered fundamental as a way to improve the educational standards and offer the best education possible to every person in the country. Also, to think that there was no consensus on the issue make us think about the importance of education to the country’s legislators. What we could see in this court ruling is that it is possible that other interests have something to be with the tribunal ruling. In the same way, the importance of education seems to be overlooked in the litigation.
Considering education an issue related to other services the state provides, thus converting it into a service, rather than a fundamental right can be a dangerous situation. In a country such as the United States, that is supposed to uphold the values of democracy, and education, thinking of it different than fundamental freedoms such as the freedom of speech might strike us a strange situation. Besides, considering that the country thinks of itself as one off the most advanced and free demoracracies in the world, failing to protect school systems and creating inequity can be counterintuitive. Last but not least, why if the Supreme Court goes great lengths in protecting instances such as the free speech, why would not it protect education as well?
Macchiarola, F., and J.G. Diaz. “Disorder in the Courts: The Aftermath of San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez in the State Courts.” Valparaiso University Law Review 30.2 (1996): 551-80. Valparaiso University. Web. 25 July 2015. <http://scholar.valpo.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1891&context=vulr>.
Ogletree, C.J. “The Legacy and Implications of San Antonio Independent School District V. Rodriguez.” Richmond Journal of Law and the Public Interest 17.2 (2014): 515-48. Web. 25 July 2015. <http://rjolpi.richmond.edu/archive/Ogletree_Formatted.pdf>.
“San Antonio Independent School District V. Rodriguez Implications and Aftermath.” Virginia Law Review 94 (2008): 1963-986. Print.