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Adequate and Equitable School Funding

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Date and time
Tuesday, November 16, 2004

This discussion addresses the question of adequate and equitable school funding, an issue that has been debated and extensively litigated in Massachusetts and other states across the nation for many years. Panelists include *Sacramento Bee* education columnist Peter Schrag. Schrag presents findings from his latest book, *Final Test: The Battle for Adequacy in America's Schools*; Michael Rebell, executive director of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity, successful plaintiffs in the New York state suit to secure adequate resources for students in New York City; and Robert Costrell, chief economist for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the Executive Office for Administration and Finance. The panel is moderated by Robert Schwartz, Harvard Graduate School of Education lecturer on education, and former president of Achieve, Inc., an independent, bipartisan, nonprofit organization created by governors and corporate leaders to help states improve their schools.

Peter Schrag, retired editorial page editor and columnist for the Sacramento Bee, has been writing for *The Nation* for nearly a half-century. His new book, *Not Fit for Our Society: Nativism, Eugenics and Immigration*, will be published next spring.
Michael Rebell is the Executive Director of the Campaign for Educational Equity at Teachers College, Columbia University. He is an experienced litigator in the field of education law, and he is also Professor Law and Educational Practice at Teachers College and Columbia Law School. Rebell was co-counsel for the plaintiffs in Campaign for Fiscal Equity, Inc. versus State of New York, a school funding adequacy lawsuit that claimed that the State of New York was not adequately funding public schools in New York City. Rebell argued the case three times before the New York Court of Appeals, New York's highest court. Rebell calls himself a child of the 60's, and says he was inspired by John F. Kennedy's call to public service. He attended Harvard College as an undergraduate and subsequently served in the Peace Corps for two years in Sierra Leone. After returning from the Peace Corps, he attended Yale Law School.
Robert Schwartz held a wide variety of leadership positions in education and government before joining the HGSE faculty in 1996. From 1997 to 2002, Schwartz also served as president of Achieve, Inc., an independent, bipartisan, nonprofit organization created by governors and corporate leaders to help states improve their schools. From 1990 to 1996, Schwartz directed the education grantmaking program of The Pew Charitable Trusts, one of the nation's largest private philanthropies. In addition to his work at HGSE, Achieve, and The Pew Charitable Trusts, Schwartz has been a high-school English teacher and principal; an education advisor to the mayor of Boston and the governor of Massachusetts; an assistant director of the National Institute of Education; a special assistant to the president of the University of Massachusetts; and executive director of The Boston Compact, a public-private partnership designed to improve access to higher education and employment for urban high-school graduates. Schwartz has written and spoken widely on topics such as standards-based reform, public-private partnerships, and the transition from high school to adulthood.