The Congressional Failure to Enforce Equal Protection Through the Elementary and Secondary Education Act
Boston University Law Review, Vol. 90, p. 313, 2010
62 Pages Posted: 13 Oct 2011
Date Written: October 13, 2011
This article addresses whether Congress has an obligation pursuant to the Equal Protection Clause to further equal protection and, if so, whether its current education funding mechanisms violate that obligation. The article argues that Congress’s responsibility under the 14th Amendment is neither mandatory, nor entirely discretionary, but rather includes a duty to act in good faith in enforcing equal protection, which, at the very least, prohibits Congress from actively undermining equal protection. Federal funding of education, while previously consistent with this 14th Amendment duty, has come to undermine equality in education, primarily because it has lost its focus on equality and, instead, attempted to further education reform agendas. The article analyzes the various details of how federal funds are distributed, how they are inconsistent with equal protection, and how the problems can be remedied. By doing so, this article is the first connect equal protection with federal funding and establish an obligation for Congress to ensure certain types of school equity.
Keywords: school funding, school equity, equal protection, education policy, Title I, Elementary and Secondary Education Act, federal education funding
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