Date of this Version
The hope in undertaking this study was to make a comparative evaluation of the myriad of federal legislative proposals introduced to provide some financial support for education. However,education is a tremendously broad area of study; furthermore, the span of time through which it has presented significant public issues is great.The need to render this study manageable,and at the same time to concentrate on issues of current importance and interest, led, therefore, to the exclusion of other topics from consideration. Consequently, the federal legislative proposals examined are only those which would have provided federal financial supportforprimaryandsecondary education in the United States.The vitally important subject of federal aid for higher education lies dormant, awaiting study by someone else. Nor have the proposals to create new educational programs (such as those designed to facilitate education of gifted or mentally retarded children) in primary and secondary schools,nor plans to aid education by underwriting loans to school districts or state school agencies, nor the vitally important proposals to aid adult and vocational education been considered. Also omitted from this study is consideration of programs, whether operating or proposed, to provide aid for schools in the so-called federally impacted areas. In short, the federal aid proposals evaluated in this study are limited to those which: (1) involved direct financial support, (2) embraced all primary and secondary schools in all of the states, and (3) did not provide for earmarking of funds.
Federal aid proposals examined here are those which were introduced since the end of World War II. The impact of that war on education and specifically on the problem of financing education is well known. The problem of financing education in the foreseeable future, too, seems compelling enough to justify limiting this study to the postwar years.
The methods of analysis and the sources of statistical information used are not without limitation. While the limitations are indicated throughout this study, a prefatory statement seems advisable. The results of this study are as reliable as the conscientious use of methods and sources available to me enables them to be. However, it is hoped that subsequent refinement specifically in theories of tax shifting and incidence, in expenditure theory, and in factual information about state distributions of income, expenditures, and other variables, will enable other interested persons to improve both on my techniques of analysis and on the preciseness of my results.