Urban Legends, Desegregation and School Finance: Did Kansas City Really Prove That Money Doesn’t Matter?


This article examines whether conservative critics are correct in their assertion that the Kansas City, Missouri School District (KCMSD) desegregation plan clearly establishes that no correlation exists between funding and academic outcomes. The first section provides a summary of public education in the KCMSD prior to 1977, the beginning of the Missouri v. Jenkins school desegregation litigation. The second and third sections analyze whether the Jenkins desegregation and concurrent school finance litigation (Committee for Educational Equality v. State) addressed these problems. The fourth section provides an overview of school finance litigation and explains how the KCMSD desegregation plan has been cited as proof by conservatives that no correlation exists between educational outcomes and academic performance. The final section uses national and state level data on school funding and student outcomes to determine whether their assertions are correct.


Civil Rights and Discrimination | Education Law | Law and Society | Social Welfare Law

Date of this Version

March 2006