and services that comprise such a proper (in our terms, "adequate") education. The basket consisted of some 30 courses and kinds of knowledge, designed to achieve a group of broader outcomes similar to those specified in West Virginia, Kentucky, and other states. The legislature deliberated upon these outcomes in great detail. For example, one Wyoming goal in the basket of expected outcomes and courses specified that every child should learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation. This objective was subsequently altered in favor of learning to balance a checkbook and manage a retirement portfolio. Boxes 7-2 and 7-3 display the Wyoming "Basket of Education Goods and Services."
Even a cursory glance at these "baskets" suggests that few of these outcomes can be, or are, measured by the standardized reading and math tests that most uninformed discussions of school finance assume can measure adequacy. Whether, for example, the same resources that produce mathematical competency also, without augmentation, produce adequate performance in the fine and performing arts, is a question which analyses of finance adequacy cannot ignore, but which has yet barely been addressed by education finance theorists.
Despite the difficulties, however, the adequacy litigation and legislation in Wyoming suggest a range of achievement levels and exposure to knowledge and skills that can serve as ends toward which to orient a practical school finance distribution system. Any of these outputs or ends can serve as an anchor around which to design particular components of an overall instructional system. Once an acceptable instructional system is in place, it should then, in principle, be possible to assign costs to the components.
Designing a state school finance system, even one oriented toward "adequacy," inevitably creates a tension between the dictates of a "system" design and the characteristics of individual students. State policymakers cannot easily prescribe the nature of instruction and the levels of resources for each of a state's literally thousands or millions of individual students. Hence, the necessity of designing a "system." Such a system should attempt to provide local school districts, local schools, and even classroom teachers with resources and inducements to tailor instruction to the characteristics of students. Ultimately, though, state-level policymakers must design a school finance system; they cannot now design a resource allocation program for each individual student. Because current policy tools are often clumsy, the needs of school finance systems on occasion may appear insensitive to the needs of individual students. Tailoring school finance to individual student characteristics is a research frontier where far more knowledge is needed.
Given the above-mentioned complexity, policy analysts and researchers have been pioneering three approaches to calculate the costs of adequacy: (1) inference from outcomes by statistical analysis, (2) inference from outcomes by empirical