Thursday, September 8, 2016

Judge, Citing Inequality, Orders Connecticut to Overhaul Its School System - The New York Times

Judge, Citing Inequality, Orders Connecticut to Overhaul Its School System - The New York Times

by Elizabeth A.  Harris

In a decision that could fundamentally reshape public education in Connecticut, the state was ordered on Wednesday to make changes in everything from how schools are financed to which students are eligible to graduate from high school to how teachers are paid and evaluated.
Reading his ruling from the bench for more than two hours, Judge Thomas Moukawsher of State Superior Court in Hartford said that “Connecticut is defaulting on its constitutional duty” to give all children an adequate education.
Judge Moukawsher’s decision was a response to a lawsuit filed more than a decade ago that claimed the state was shortchanging the poorest district when it came to school funding. What separates the decision from those in dozens of similar suits around the country is that rather than addressing money only, it requires the state to rethink nearly every major aspect of its system.
“This is a game changer,” said Joseph P. Ganim, the mayor of Bridgeport, Conn., one of the state’s poorest and lowest-performing school districts. “It’s an indictment of the application of the system, and of the system itself.”
Joseph P. Moodhe, who represented the plaintiffs in the case, Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding, said that virtually every state had faced an education funding suit. This year, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that the state’s financing plan created “intolerable” inequities. And in New York, a 2006 lawsuit was supposed to yield additional money in New York City and districts with high poverty rates, but a battle persists over whether the state is meeting its obligations.
William S. Koski, a professor of law and education at Stanford University, called the scope of the ruling “highly unusual.”
“Most of these school finance lawsuits are about numbers, and about whether adequate funding is being provided for whatever learning outcomes the court establishes,” he said. “Really, it’s typically about the money.”
As for the Connecticut ruling, he said, “I would call it a school reform decision rather than a school funding decision.”

No comments:

Post a Comment