Can Judges Improve Academic Achievement?
Over the last 3 decades student achievement has remained essentially unchanged in the United States, but not for a lack of spending. Over the same period a myriad of education reforms have been suggested and per-pupil spending has more than doubled. Since the 1990s the education reform attempts have frequently included judicial decisions to revise state school finance systems. Invoking general clauses about the need for an adequate education found in every state constitution, judges in more than half of the states waded into the development of finely tuned reform strategies. This article empirically estimates the effect of judicial intervention on student achievement using standardized test scores and graduation rates in 48 states from 1992 to 2005. We find no evidence that court-ordered school spending improves student achievement.