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Copyright (c) 2008 South Carolina Law Review
South Carolina Law Review

Education Law: The Political Question Doctrine: A Doctrine for Long-Term Change in Our Public Schools

Spring, 2008

South Carolina Law Review

59 S.C. L. Rev. 531


Bess J. DuRant


I. Introduction
Some of the poorest children in the state attend schools constructed in the 1800s. 2 Some of these children use "road kill" for their science experiments because the school district is unable to provide laboratory frogs. 3 Approximately only fifty percent of these students meet minimum performance expectations on English and math standardized tests. 4

This overwhelming problem needs prompt attention, but what is the best solution? Do the parents of these children file a lawsuit seeking a court order that mandates allocation of funds, or do they seek a resolution through the political process? In seeking to address this fundamental question, this Comment will argue that state legislatures should be the central institution for school finance reform because the separation of powers doctrine suggests that the legislature, and not the judiciary, is the proper institution to make major educational policy choices. 5 Furthermore, in school funding litigation and other school reform litigation, courts have had only limited success in crafting long-term remedies.

Part II of this Comment addresses the role of the courts in deciding school funding issues. Specifically, Part II focuses on Abbeville County School District v. South Carolina, 6 the current school funding litigation in South Carolina. Part III presents a criticism of a court's role in school funding and discusses the inherent limitations on a court's ability to effectively address school funding issues. An analysis of the separation of powers doctrine suggests that courts should rarely involve themselves in such a dispute. 7 Part ...
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