Yale Law Clinic Continues Fight for Quality Education Access in Connecticut

Yale Law students from the Education Adequacy Project Clinic appeared in Hartford Superior Court Monday, September 16 to advocate for the right of all schoolchildren to have access to an adequate education.

The clinic, along with attorneys from the firm Debevoise & Plimpton LLP (New York City), were there to represent the Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding, a statewide coalition of municipalities, local boards of education, statewide professional education associations, unions, other pro-education advocacy organizations, parents, public schoolchildren aged 18 or older, and other concerned Connecticut taxpayers.

The coalition filed suit against the state of Connecticut in the fall of 2005 for its failure to adequately and equitably fund the public schools in accordance with its constitutional obligation.

The CCJEF v. Rell case was sidelined from 2008-2010 while plaintiffs awaited the Connecticut Supreme Court’s ruling on their appeal of an unfavorable lower-court decision pertaining to education adequacy. The Supreme Court’s March 2010 ruling made clear that under the Connecticut constitution all public school students have the right to an effective and meaningful education, and the case was sent back to Hartford Superior Court for a full trial on the merits of all its adequacy and equity claims.

In court on Monday, two important motions filed by the state were argued in the CCJEF v. Rell case, including a motion to dismiss the case and the other to narrow its scope. Presently, the case is scheduled for trial in July 2014.

“The Education Adequacy Clinic saw nearly a year of work come to fruition on Monday in our argument against Defendant's Motion to Dismiss,” said Rachel Dempsey ’15, student director for the clinic. “The future of the clinic's eight-year effort to spark reform Connecticut's broken education system hinges on the outcome of the motion, and we are hopeful that we will prevail.”

The Education Adequacy Project is a clinic devoted to representing clients who wish to improve the quality of educational opportunities being provided to children.

[Caption for Photo]
First row: Helen Cantwell, Sam Adriance (2L), Megan Bannigan, Rebecca Jenkin, Rachel Dempsey (2L), Devon Porter (2L)
Second row: Dustin Nofziger, Dave Nolan, Andrew Shipley (2L), Hunter Smith, Brian Sweeney (2L), Alex Knopp, Joe Sanderson (2L), Chase Sackett (3L), Ben Cain (3L)