Thousands of Connecticut children are receiving inferior educations that are failing to adequately prepare them for later life, Yale Law School students charged Tuesday before the state Supreme Court.
Poor educational quality is holding children back in cities such as Bridgeport, while other school systems, especially in the wealthier suburbs, are preparing their children to join the 21st century’s global economy, they said.
“The problem is that at some schools, students aren’t learning,” said Neil Weare, 27, a third-year law student. “When they graduate, they simply cannot read. They don’t have the math skills to go on to college or even to get a meaningful living-wage job.”
Weare and David Noah, a second-year law student, were allowed to argue before the state’s highest court as part of the Yale Law Education Adequacy Project, savings plaintiffs millions of dollars.
The project filed the suit in November 2005 for plaintiffs including Nekita Carroll-Hall, of Bridgeport, who has two children in the local school system. The suit was rejected at the lower court level, setting the scene for Tuesday’s make-or-break hearing in a packed courtroom.
“No matter how you describe it, the purposes of public education are clear and these purposes are to prepare students to — after graduation — be able to get a job or go on to college, to be able to be effective citizens within our democracy,” Weare said. “We’re asking the court to decide whether the state is meeting its constitutional duties.”
“Thirty years ago, this court recognized that Connecticut schoolchildren have the fundamental right to education,” Noah said. “The question before the court today is whether that right has any meaningful content.”