are beginning to understand how state education finance systems respond to court-ordered reforms and political forces within individual states. They reveal the complex dynamics of how school spending and school districts adapt to changes in state educational finance systems. They trace the evolution of finance reform based on concerns about funding equity and indicate some of the possibilities and pitfalls facing policymakers as equity-based reforms become increasingly concerned with the adequacy of the educational opportunities provided to children.
The ''shift toward adequacy" in school finance, as the papers in this volume suggest, begins to make explicit the link between the funding of schools and their educational performance. Yet these papers do not address in a direct way crucial questions about how the financing system does or could influence the behavior and effectiveness of schools. These questions are of central concern to the Committee on Education Finance, however, and will be addressed in our final report, scheduled for publication in late 1999.
Each paper in this volume represents only the views of the individual authors. The papers were commissioned to inform the committee's deliberations and were not designed to provide a comprehensive review of all issues related to equity and adequacy in education finance or to reflect the committee's positions on these issues. Among other things, these papers do not address issues such as the impact of efforts to equalize funds on student outcomes, the relationship between spending and student performance, or the performance or behavioral incentives set up by general or categorical funding with the educational system. Signs of disagreement also exist within the papers, such as the strength of the relationship between the landmark equity cases in California (the Serrano cases) and the passage of Proposition 13 in that state (see, for example, comments by Minorini and Sugarman in Chapter 2 and by Evans, Murray, and Schwab in Chapter 3 of this volume). We recognize that many other critical concerns about educational finance are not addressed, such as the plight of disadvantaged students, the concentration of poverty in urban areas, the impacts of the growth and diversity of student populations, or the introduction of new technologies on the financing of U.S. education. These issues, and others, will be considered in our final report.
The eight papers in this volume trace the history and current status of efforts to foster fairness in educational finance systems. The first paper, authored by Robert Berne and Leanna Stiefel, seeks to clarify and define concepts of school finance equity and to provide a firm conceptual framework for the papers that follow. Two lawyers, Paul A. Minorini and Stephen D. Sugarman, then examine the historical evolution, impact, and future of school finance litigation designed to foster equity in the allocation of educational resources among advantaged and disadvantaged districts.
The catalytic role of the courts is documented in the third paper by economists William N. Evans, Sheila E. Murray, and Robert M. Schwab. They show