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mandated that universities provide equal opportunity in athletics for both sexes. Ruth's crusading spirit and gritty determination were big influences on King, according to family members. After becoming pregnant with her fourth son, it was made clear to her that the head of her academic department might ask her to resign. She said she would not, gave birth during spring break, and was back in the lecture hall the following week when classes resumed. Meanwhile King's father, Kern, was becoming involved in school equity fights just as his father had been. As an academic studying K-12 financing, Kern and other like-minded experts developed a legal theory that states were often required by their own constitutions to fund all school districts at higher and more equal levels. When the Supreme Court of Kentucky determined, in a major 1989 case, that the legislature had failed the state constitutional mandate "to provide an efficient system of common schools throughout the state," it cited Kern's testimony and arguments. Another victory "People hand down businesses," King said about fighting for higher education funding. "This is our family business." came in Tennessee, where the court ruled in 1993 that funding disparities violated the state constitution's education and equal protection clauses. King proudly told me that while Lamar Alexander was governor, his "father sued him." Actually, while the allegations in the case occurred in part while Lamar was governor, the suit was filed a year after he left office, and Kern Alexander was an expert witness, not the plaintiff. Still, the pride King takes in the claim-and his evident delight in the idea that his family has already bested Lamar once-is telling. "People hand down businesses," King told me. "This is our family business." After growing up in Gainesville, King went to St. Lawrence University in upstate New York, then to Oxford for a master's degree. After a stint as a professional fund-raiser for the University of North Carolina at Greensboro he went to the University of Wisconsin-Madison to earn a PhD in higher education and policy. It was at Madison that his intellectual compass was set. At the time, the mid-1990s, a number of the faculty in the higher education administration department at Madison, including some of King's own professors, were battle-scarred veterans of a now largely forgotten fight over educational financing and equity involving the Higher Education Act- another piece of Johnson's Great Society and the same legislation Lamar Alexander now aims to reauthorize. The HEA supplied federal dollars to states and schools to construct academic buildings, some money to institutions for grant aid to 54 September/October 2015 needy students, and money to banks guaranteeing some student loans. In the years following its passage in 1965, a vigorous debate ensued over how best to give low-income students access to college. One group believed that money should continue to flow through states and public institutions in order to keep tuition at public colleges cheap or free. Another camp argued that this approach was wasteful and inequitable, since public universities disproportionately served upper-middleclass students. The latter group, made up of economists and various public intellectuals, argued that a system of "direct aid" would be more efficient: give needy students a tuition voucher, and let them decide where to spend it, thus encouraging a marketlike mechanism that would keep prices down. This approach was pioneered, in part, by the conservative economist Milton Friedman. But it was broadly endorsed by much of the intellectual and political class of that era, including both the Johnson and Nixon administrations. King decided to write his thesis on these old debates and how they ultimately played out in Washington in 1972 in the form of influential amendments to the HEA, which greatly increased federal student aid. He focused part of his thesis on the successful efforts of private colleges to convince Congress that, without federal support, they would close. In the late 1960s, all schools, both public and private, were feeling financially squeezed due to a confluence of economic factors, but prominent private universities such as New York University and Stanford said they were facing even more serious financial strain. The private schools argued that they were at an unfair disadvantage because the publics were subsidized by the states. They hoped the federal government would even the playing field. The plight of the privates became a major cause of concern to the influential Carnegie Foundation as well as to members of Congress, especially those representing the Northeast, home to the nation's oldest and most elite private colleges. In part because they had been around so long, those privates were able to argue, wrote King in his dissertation, that they "had an evolutionary entitlement to survival and to governmental resources." King thinks that lawmakers who went to private schools, like Senator Claiborne Pell of Rhode Island, who attended Princeton and Columbia, believed that elite private schools were inherently superior to flagship publics. "They felt like 'if the poor kid can't go to Harvard like we did, what a shame,' " says King. By the time of the 1972 debates, as the federal government considered a massive increase in spending on higher education, the private schools had been so successful that the debate in Congress was not whether privates would be funded, but how. Privates and publics both benefited from, and therefore favored, an institutional aid formula based on enrollment. But the privates were also more amenable to direct aid as a way to compete with low-cost publics, and King suggested in his thesis that they may have quietly lobbied for it. Claiborne Pell formed a coalition of Republican

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