Monday, February 06, 2006

Final Thoughts on the South Carolina School Funding Litigation

My final thoughts on the South Carolina school funding opinion can be found here. In essence, I think Judge Cooper's order, which was compelled by the state Supreme Court, was wrong for this reason:

Of course, this school funding litigation and the specter of more litigation should cause all South Carolinians to question the advent of the courts into state education policy. We elect a governor, senators and representatives to allocate finite tax dollars among many worthy efforts, including education. If we believe that not enough money is allocated to certain objectives, we have a remedy. In a democratic system with a guarantee of free speech, we may attempt to persuade our fellow citizens that funds should be reallocated to schools, parks, wetlands preservation, etc.

Via such advocacy, coupled with the ballot box, South Carolinians can trigger much change. The people's choice, via a ballot initiative, to adopt an education lottery is but one example of the democratic process working to bring about change and to fund additional programs.

With the state Supreme Court's judicial gloss on the constitution's aspiration that there be a system of public schools and the order requiring the General Assembly to spend more on pre-kindergarten programs, the people and their elected representatives are excluded from important facets of educational policy. The judiciary has, in effect, handcuffed the people and their representatives in the realm of education.

No comments: