Thorough and Efficient Systems of Education

The term thorough and efficient systems of education refers to a standard of educational quality that is mandated by some, but not all, state constitutions. This term, along with similar ones, such as thorough and uniform and thorough and efficient, are key elements in school finance litigation. Specifically, courts must determine whether educational finance systems created by state legislatures provide sufficient funds to achieve the constitutionally mandated quality standard. State constitutions contain “education clauses” mandating the establishment of free public education. Even so, the level of the duty imposed by these clauses varies a great deal. Although Grubb (1974) and Ratner (1985), working independently, recognized that the education clauses could be divided into four categories based on their language, Thro (1989) suggested the differences ...

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