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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

CT Supreme Court Rules Children Have Right to Quality Education in Case Argued by YLS students

The Education Adequacy Project at Yale Law School won a major victory in the Connecticut Supreme Court on March 22 when the Court ruled in favor of the Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding in the case, CCJEF v. Rell.

CCJEF, represented by Yale Law students in the EAP clinic, asserted in a complaint back in 2005 that the state’s failure to adequately and equitably fund public schools had irreparably harmed thousands of schoolchildren. In oral arguments before the Court almost two years ago, clinic members, including YLS students David Noah '09 and Neil Weare '08, said Connecticut students had the right to, not just an education, but an adequate one.

In its 4-3 decision, the Court agreed, saying “the fundamental right to an education is not an empty linguistic shell” and that it must meet “modern educational standards.” The Court declared that state education must prepare students to “participate in democratic institutions,” “attain productive employment,” and “progress on to higher education.”

“This is a landmark victory for all schoolchildren in Connecticut and the culmination of years of effort from Yale law students in the Education Adequacy Project,” said Lindsey Luebchow ’11, co-director of the EAP. “From the filing of the complaint, to the oral arguments in front of the Supreme Court, more than 50 law students have worked tirelessly to establish every Connecticut child’s right to a suitable education.”

The clinic will now prepare to go to trial to protect the rights articulated by the Supreme Court in its decision and prove that the State is not meeting its constitutional burden to provide a minimally adequate education.

“This decision is a significant step in the right direction, and we will keep working tirelessly to ensure that the state provides schoolchildren with the education they deserve,” said clinic member Sam Berger ’10.