18. The United States offers significantly lower quality elementary and secondary education to poor people, including, disproportionately, racial minorities. The following negative experiences characterize the treatment of racial and ethnic minority children starting as early as age three in the elementary schools and continuing through high school: (1) unreasonably harsh disciplinary practices,49 (2) housing racial segregation putting particularly Indigenous, black and Hispanic students in modestly funded public schools in poorer districts with weaker teachers,50 (3) diversion of public funds to privately run schools (“the charter school experiment in public education”) as part of a consistent national effort to weaken the political power of public sector unions,51 and (4) even in integrated schools, the tracking of racial minority students into classes and coursework that are not college preparatory. These are just some of the direct ways in which racial minorities are underprepared for college level work and, beyond that, admission to legal education.
19. The United States’ property-tax-based system of public school financing encourages and exacerbates these disparities. In this system, higher income localities are able to provide significantly more resources to their local schools and students than are lower income localities, with schools that are overwhelmingly made up of segregated racial minorities. In a period of budgetary challenges for state educational funding as well as budgetary challenges for federal assistance to primary and secondary education, these locality-based disparities are made more vivid. Their effect is to decrease the probability that these racial and ethnic minority students housed in essentially poorer segregated neighborhoods and poorer schools will have access to the resources to assure their educational preparation relative to their peers at the elementary and secondary school levels. They are therefore less likely to be prepared for college, and consequently less competitive at the law school level.