State Education Funding Held “Irrational”

After 11 years of litigation, Judge Thomas Moukawsher has issued his 254-page decision (including appendices) in Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding v. Rell.  The decision is both a defeat and a victory for the plaintiffs.

It is a defeat in that the judge rejected the plaintiffs’ claim that the overall amount of state funding for education was constitutionally inadequate.  Thus, the decision does not require the state to increase the total amount of funding for general education expenditures.

The decision is a victory for the plaintiffs in that the judge concluded that the way the state distributed education funds to municipalities is irrational.  It is also victory because the court held that the state has failed to reasonably define what constitutes an “elementary and secondary” education.  Finally, it is a victory in holding that no rational relationship exists between (1) how teachers are hired, evaluated and paid and (2) student educational outcomes.

The court finds beyond a reasonable doubt that the state is using an irrational statewide system of evaluation and compensation for educational professionals and therefore denies students constitutionally adequate opportunities to learn.

The court has given the General Assembly 180 days to propose solutions to the constitutional flaws the court identified.

Stay tuned for more analysis after I fully digest this very significant decision–which I suspect both parties will appeal.

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