Education Funding in Virginia from 1900 to 1979

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EducationFunding in Virginia from 1900 to 1979

EducationFunding in Virginia from 1900 to 1979

Educationis essential for development and innovation of new ideas in social,economic, political, environmental and technological fields. Schoolsystem evolves differently in various countries across the world.Some policies are introduced in the Constitutions to guarantee propersustainability and improvement of quality education in differentstates or countries through the allocation of funds. The stateagencies ensure the public schools are fully funded by providingfacilities like reading and writing materials, construction ofstructures and paying part of tuition and exam fees for the learners.During the early years in the state Virginia, there was no support ofeducation in public schools, throughout the colonial era and overhalf of the twentieth century (Green, 2016). John Tyler and ThomasJefferson are some of Virginians who introduced the idea of freeconventional education, which was divergent to some people. Theschool funding in Virginia has continually evolved since the colonialperiod up to now. However, the paper will discuss the educationfinancing and its impacts in Virginia from 1900 to 1979.

Thehistory of education aid started in the early years where theformation of public schools was done by parents, who would set abuilding and employ teachers to educate their children. Teachersoften stayed for an extended period before being paid. The countyonly assisted the schools by providing materials used to repairschool structures while parents provided labor. Most of theclassrooms were made of wood frame or logs. Later, Virginia LiteraryFund was introduced with the aim of educating the poorest kids, inwhich, the main barrier being the negative attitudes amongst theVirginians (Gates, 2014). The Literary Fund continued to offer loansto local schools for the building of school facilities. The schoolstructures were developed into larger buildings due to the influenceof Progressive Movement, as well as, certification of female teachersoccurred. The socioeconomic system of Virginia comprised of upperclass, black people, slaves, week middle-class and poor whites wherelarge population depended on free education. Diversion of fundshappened to higher institutions such as the University of Virginia,destabilizing the revenue streams of maintaining free publiceducation system in the State.

In1902, the Underwood Constitution, which was passed in 1870, wasrewritten without changing the education article (Dinan, 2014). Ithappened immediately after Andrew Jackson Montague became thegovernor. The free schools were supposed to be established and upheldby General Assembly of Virginia. The new constitution maintained therequirement for state disbursement of statewide revenues to thepublic schools for the children aged from 7 to 20 years, differentfrom Underwood Constitution where a child was to be between 5 and 21years. However, the racial segregation clause was retained, in which,black and white kids attended different schools. The black schoolswere segregated more than the white schools, hence, creating a gap inperformance (Green, 2016). Female teachers received less salary thanmales and whites earned more than blacks. However, the stateeducation funding progressively happened in public schools, althoughit was hard to sustain with the outgrowing population.

TheGeneral Assembly gradually developed a standard education system forthe state and increased funds for the public schools. The Basic StateSchool Fund program was developed that primarily supported thelocalities. It was well implemented from the 1930s to 1950s, althoughit currently remains as the typical structure for public funding inthe state. Additional funds were spawned from local taxation anddistributed to public schools by fiscal equalization formula. Theprogram also offered free transport and provided a special andvocational education to the children in the public schools (Huang,Invernizzi &amp Drake, 2012). However, it failed due to economic andracial inconsistencies that contributed to the local schooldivisions. The provision of inadequate resources to the black schoolsand variation in local taxation contributed to those disparities.

Ethnicand racial barriers persisted, haunting the Commonwealth, aimed atsupporting government services including funding the public schools.The black petitioners filed court cases in the 1930s to smash awayisolation at the university level and to equalize provision offacilities to both elementary and high schools. The critics continuedto protest until 1954 when the Supreme Court ruled for equalizationin public schools, under the case of Brown versus Board of Education(Fife, 2013). However, the white politicians rejected the ruling andgeared to retain segregation education system leading to closing downof some separate public schools. The Gray Commission, an officialboard that was established by the state lawmakers, was to consideralternatives after Brown decisions. The commission suggested givinglocalities a wide discretion in achieving the needs of the currentlaw.

Somecritics urged Gov. Thomas Stanley to try to retain white’s cultureby supporting separation of schools hence, prevent intermarriagesamongst races. However, the governor refused to interfere with theBrown`s decision, thereby, resulting in massive resistance in 1956(Gates, 2014). In 1958, Gov. Lindsay Almond still adhered to lawstriggering more massive resistance that led to the closure of somewhite public schools for five years until 1964. However, the blackschools remained opened during that period. In 1960, some blackstudents started to enroll in white schools irrespective of muchresistance from the white politicians and Virginians. The situationstabilized after 1964 when the Civil Rights Act helped to terminateall the means of resisting desegregation of schools.

In1968, a lawsuit was filed in court challenging the state systemresponsible for financing the public schools by claiming that it hadfailed to eradicate the problems in the education sector amongstVirginia localities adequately (Bonastia, 2012). However, the federaldistrict court rejected their claims of interdicting the schoolfinance system in the state. The ruling of the case between Green andNew Kent County in the Supreme Court also supported the integrationof public schools through equalization of both human and physicalresources.

Thecritics continued to complain about those issues and influenced thelegislative and executive arms of government who pushed forratification of a new constitution in 1971 during the reign of Gov.Linwood Holton. He was the first Republican governor to hold thehighest office in Virginia. The amendment of the constitution wasperformed as ascertained in Article XII, Section 1. The VirginiaState Legislatures proposed for renewal of the constitution and votedin both the first and second sessions (Dinan, 2014). The secondsession consisted of newly elected members where the majority had toagree for the approval of a new constitution before it was placed tothe public for voting. It was done on general election ballot wherethe majority of public voters accepted it and successfully passed asthe state’s constitution. The House of Delegates is the lower housethat consists of 100 members chaired by the speaker, while theVirginia State Senate is the upper house that comprises 40 membersspearheaded by the governor.

Inthe new constitution, some sections in the articles were changed, forexample, in Civil Rights, Local Government, and Education amongothers. The education system for the public schools was altered andmandated by Standards of Quality (SOQ). The Virginia General Assemblywas to offer an education system to all children in public schools,regardless of age, and ensure high quality is ascertained andprogressively maintained. Execution of a new funding formula was themajor element to the SOQ that involved transferring of variouscategorical programs into lowest foundation program, referred to asBasic State Aid. The Board of Education was responsible forevaluating school performances, which would determine the amounts offunds to be assigned to each school based on SQL system (Huang,Invernizzi &amp Drake, 2012). By 1979, the public school educationsystem had stabilized where school facilities were equallydistributed, and the white and black children could attend the sameschools.

Inconclusion, education funding system was much affected by thepolitical and economic status of the state. The critics alwayscondemned the Commonwealth of the state to ratify on some issuesconcerning distribution of school facilities based on racial lines.This led to ratification of the Constitution from time to timeaffecting the public school’s funding system. The Constitution ofVirginia and Supreme Court’s decisions guaranteed proper support tothe black and white public schools through equalization offacilities. The children of the lower-waged parents had theopportunities of attending schools regardless of their livingconditions. Currently, new programs have been established to continuesupporting public schools in the state.


Bonastia,C. (2012).&nbspSouthernStalemate: Five Years without Public Education in Prince EdwardCounty, Virginia.Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Dinan,J. (2014).&nbspTheVirginia State Constitution.Oxford University Press.

Fife,B. L. (2013).&nbspOldSchool Still Matters: Lessons from History to Reform Public Educationin America.Santa Barbara, California: Praeger.

Gates,R. L. (2014).&nbspTheMaking of Massive Resistance: Virginia`s Politics of Public SchoolDesegregation, 1954-1956.Carolina: University of North Carolina Press.

Green,H. (2016).Educational reconstruction: African American schools in the urbanSouth.New York: Fordham University Press.

Huang,F. L., Invernizzi, M. A., &amp Drake, E. A. (2012). The differentialeffects of preschool: Evidence from Virginia.&nbspEarlyChildhood Research Quarterly,&nbsp27(1),33-45.