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CEA President on Appeal in Education Funding Case

img_gavel-balanceConnecticut Attorney General George Jepsen today announced the state will appeal part of the court’s ruling in Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding (CCJEF) v. Rell.

“Under our system of government, state education policy is determined by the Legislative and Executive Branches and implemented under a strong tradition of local control by municipal school boards and, ultimately, teachers,” Jepsen said in a statement. “This decision would wrest educational policy from the representative branches of state government, limit public education for some students with special needs, create additional municipal mandates concerning graduation and other standards, and alter the basic terms of educators’ employment—and entrust all of those matters to the discretion of a single, unelected judge.”

Jepsen is seeking an expedited review, asking the State Supreme Court to review part of the ruling now, not after the 180 day period Superior Court Judge Thomas Moukawsher set for the legislative and executive branches to respond to his mandate for remedies. Read the entire appeal here.

CEA President Sheila Cohen said,

We are pleased that the state is appealing certain aspects of the broad and overreaching court ruling in the Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding v. Rell (CCJEF v. Rell) lawsuit.

The court found that Connecticut’s education funding system is flawed and recognized the need to do more for students in high-poverty districts and we agree—but it failed to require the state to provide adequate funding for all schools—the heart of the CCJEF v. Rell lawsuit. We are disheartened that the state did not appeal this part of the ruling.

Many of our children, especially minority children and those living in high-poverty districts, are being disproportionately and negatively impacted by the state’s flawed funding system. We need to fully-fund education to meet the state constitutional guarantee that all children in Connecticut receive adequate educational opportunities, regardless of their zip code.

The state attorney general made the right decision to appeal the part of the judge’s ruling that imposed mandates on everything from determining how teachers are evaluated to denying education to severely disabled children to requiring new graduation standards. These education policy issues are clearly within the purview of the state legislature and executive branches of government—the democratic process which allows input from all stakeholders—and should not rest in the hands of a single person.

We will continue to work with education stakeholders to improve, rather than devalue, the teaching profession, and secure the resources and opportunities that all students deserve.

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