Although the delegates appear to suggest the legislature should ultimately define the meaning of
“high quality,” delegate Kamin’s statement during the debate at least implies that “high quality”
is supposed to mean something more than adequate.209 If a plaintiff can successfully persuade the
court to abandon its application of the political question doctrine, it would remove entirely the
Edgar court’s justification for not finding in “high quality” some guaranteed level of education.210
Additionally, statements made by delegate Kamin after the 1970 Convention shed
additional light on how the education committee understood the impact of the new Article X, as
well as the ultimate goal the delegates pursued in the process:
If the Illinois school financing system is further challenged in the courts, the new
equal protection clause in the Illinois Bill of Rights, together with the “efficient
system” language of the Educational Article, should compel a Serrano-like result
. . . Hopefully, such a case will not be necessary. If the legislature and the new
State Board of Education will take the school financing language for what it is—
the statement of a pressing problem and the urgent prayer for a fair solution—
then they will act to equalize educational opportunity and the tax burdens of
educational financing without further judicial intervention.211
As some have suggested, the delegates’ intent and the full meaning of Article X cannot
be clearly discerned from the Convention’s record.212 The Edgar court was correct in concluding
that Article X makes no guarantee of equal education funding districts, nor does it compel the
state to shift to a more centralized funding system.213 Still, the court’s failure to sufficiently
Did the committee come to any definite definition or conclusion as to what would constitute quality services with respect
MR. FOGAL: No, we—the word “quality,” I suppose, means different things to different people. We had in mind the
highest, the most excellent educational system possible; leave this up to the determination of the legislature and your local
districts, and let the citizens keep pushing for higher-quality education. We didn’t attempt to define all of the ramifications
of high quality.
MR. PATCH: But there was strong deliberation on the fact that if you just left it at quality, it could be low quality, medium
quality; we wanted the highest form of quality that can be obtained by any system.
MR. GARRISON: Would it be possible to have a system higher and the high quality that you provide for—for example, a
MR. PATCH: Well, I don’t know—it might be, but I wouldn’t knock it.
And then later:
MR. KAMIN: I would also like to, if I could, address myself to Mr. Garrison. The use of the word “high quality” is a play
on the use of the word “good” which is in the present article [the 1870 educational article]. The committee felt that there
was not any more specific a definition perhaps for “high quality” than there was for “good,” but at least “good” is a lower
term; “high quality” is a term which is going in the direction in which we want to go.
210 See supra Part III-C (summarizing the Court’s justification for not finding “high quality” to guaranty some minimum level of
211 Malcolm S. Kamin, The School Finance Language of the Education Article: The Chimerical Mandate, 6 J. MARSHALL J. PRAC. &
PROC. 331, 345 (1973); see BURESH, supra note 2, at 126.
212 See Wilson & Wilson, supra note 148 (“The transcripts of the 1970 Illinois Constitutional Convention, however, reveal neither an
intent to require fiscal neutrality nor a desire to dismiss equality of educational funding altogether. Instead, the convention's debates
on education were full of confusing turns and contradictory aims: The delegates generally desired more equality of educational
opportunities, but they generally rejected any specific measure which could achieve it.”).
213 See supra Part III-C (summarizing the Edgar court’s analysis of Article X).