NPR News & Classical Music
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Connecticut News

Connecticut Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments In Landmark Education Case

State of Connecticut Judicial Branch
The Connecticut Supreme Court building in Hartford.

The Connecticut Supreme Court heard arguments on Thursday on a landmark case by a coalition of municipalities and concerned residents challenging the state’s public education funding formula.

A Superior Court judge ruled last year that the state’s education formula is unconstitutional. The judge said a huge gap in test scores between students in rich and poor towns showed parts of the system are unconstitutional and irrational.

The state is challenging that ruling.

Associate Attorney General Joseph Rubin argued that Connecticut is trying to create a level playing field, but it can’t use the schools to make society more equal.

“This court, has at least up to now, has not recognized any right, any constitutional right, to adequate housing or any constitutional right not to be impoverished. It’s clear that not having a place to live or not having enough money to meet many of life’s daily needs is going to impact student’s educational achievement.”

Associate Justice Richard Palmer wasn't buying it.  

“I don’t think anybody would argue that schools are going to be required to, I mean I should speak for myself, but I think it’s unlikely that anybody, any member of this court, would conclude that schools have to solve all societal ills.”

The hearing comes as Connecticut officials are mired in a budget impasse that includes how to come up with a new formula to fund public schools.