In San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 1 (1973), the Supreme Court holds that education is not a fundamental right and that unequal school funding does not violate the Constitution. It reaffirms that classifications based on wealth are not unconstitutional. Attention now shifts to state constitutional challenges, and between 1973 and 1988 courts in Arkansas, California, Connecticut, New Jersey, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming hold unequal school financing schemes unconstitutional. In 1989, the Texas Supreme Court holds that the state's public school financing scheme upheld in Rodriguez violates the state constitution.

In Keyes v. Denver School District No. 1, 413 U.S. 189 (1973), the Supreme Court considers the problems of Northern metropolitan segregation for the first time, as well as the rights of Latinos to desegregated education. In the North, school segregation is often the result of demographic shifts and residential segregation rather than deliberate segregation of schools. The Court uses an elaborate series of presumptions to establish discriminatory intent and justify a remedy. Justice Powell rejects this inquiry into intention, arguing that the harm of segregation is the same whether school segregation is mandated by law (de jure segregation) or produced by other factors (de facto segregation). However, he argues that busing as a remedy should be significantly limited.

In Norwood v. Harrison, 413 U.S. 455 (1973), the Supreme Court holds that Mississippi cannot lend textbooks to students attending private segregated schools.