E FALL BOOKS ISSUE A JOURNAL OF FREE VOICES SEPTEMBER 28, 1990 $1.50 A Parable for Legislators Consider the following story to illustrate the point. A father has two sons John and Javier. He says to each that he will divide his wealth between them Ii equally so that he may spend the same on each. For John he provides food, clothing, shelter, a car, tennis lessons, and pocket money. For Javier he provides food, clothing, and shelter. Javier says to his father, how is this equal? His father answers: This is exactly equal. I have done an accountable cost study and learned that a boy does not need a car, tennis lessons, or pocket money to grow into a fine man. So those costs do not count. I have provided for you and John equally. This simple story has even more force if the facts are altered slightly. Imag ine that the food, clothing, and shelter provided Javier are inadequate, while John’s are ample. Or imagine that Javier has special needs John does not have, for example, poor health or learning disabilities. Or imagine that the accountable costs studies of the father are wrong, and that certain special advantages do help boys grow into better men. All of these variations on the story fit the evidence. Thus, Edgewood continues to be a debate about adequacy and equity. The Legislature continues to try and define adequate as something less than the elected school boards charged with responsibility to educate our children say they need to do the job. From the September 25 Edgewood Opinion of Judge Scott McCown
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