Education: Who Pays the Bill?

America's public schools were founded on the principle that citizens should be taxed fairly to provide an equal educational chance for everyone. Yet angry taxpayers and parents no longer find their rapidly rising school taxes fair—or their children's schools equal. Their clamor is provoking a far-reaching reappraisal of how the U.S. finances its educational system.

The center of the problem is the local property tax, which pays for more than half of the nation's $39 billion public school bill. Property taxes are the only levies that most Americans vote on directly, and U.S....

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