about issues such as what occurs in the classroom, what courses students take, or educational tracking can be seen as a focus on equitable processes.
More recently, attention is turning to outputs (e.g., what schools produce, such as types of achievement and graduates) and outcomes (e.g., lifetime accomplishments, such as earnings or health status) that are variously related to what schools do. This output focus is consistent with the attention paid over the past 15 years to the quality of the U.S. education system in general and in comparison with other nations. Focusing on output equity invariably leads to questions about what levels and uses of inputs and processes are required to achieve desired distributions or levels of outputs. As we will discuss later in the chapter, these distinctions begin to hint at how the concepts of equity and adequacy interact.11 Of course, specifying how processes relate to outputs within a school is very difficult, both because of variations in factors outside the school environment as well as uncertainties about the ways in which dollars and resources are currently used or could be used more effectively within schools. Chapter 4 of this volume, by Goertz and Natriello, explores some of these issues by reviewing what is known about the patterns of personnel usage and service provision that result from school finance reforms. Guthrie and Rothstein (see Chapter 7 in this volume), Duncombe and Yinger (see Chapter 8 in this volume), and Minorini and Sugarman (see Chapter 6 in this volume) explore ideas of adequacy and its relationship to inputs, outputs, and processes.
The connections between education equity and opportunity have oriented the discourse around those who are most in need of enhanced opportunities. Low-income, minority, and disabled students are often the most targeted groups in this context, and the same general focus has been applied to low-wealth or low-income taxpayers. Many court cases since the 1970s have focused on property-poor school districts. This latter emphasis has proved problematic in some instances because the correlation between poor districts and poor children is not high. The chapter on equity by Minorini and Sugarman (Chapter 2 of this volume) discusses this issue when it addresses the United States Supreme Court's consideration of school finance.
Ex ante concepts outline the conditions for equity in the statutory formulas of K-12 financing systems. Ex ante concepts analyze the equity of statutory design elements such as the way a formula provides aid for poor versus rich districts or the way a formula is designed to provide additional funding for at-risk students. Ex post concepts are used to analyze actual outcomes that result from behavioral changes of school districts as they respond to the design elements of a school