Plaintiffs in the pending California adequacy litigation recently filed their reply brief in their education adequacy appeal against the State of California. In 2010, a California district court had dismissed the plaintiffs’ complaint adequacy claims, but allowed them to file further pleadings on their equity claims. In July 2011, however, the court also dismissed the amended equity claims. Last February, plaintiffs filed an appeal on the adequacy claims in the First Appellate District Court. Their main claim is that the district court erred in holding that the California constitution lacks a qualitative, enforceable right to an education, even though the state Supreme Court long ago held in Serrano v. Priest that education is a “fundamental interest” under the state constitution.
The Campaign for Educational Equity at Teachers College, Columbia University and the Education Law Center filed a joint brief as amici curiae in support of Plaintiffs. The brief explains the historical context in which state education clauses were adopted, including the principles embodied in common school movement that were incorporated in these clauses. The amici identify qualitative standards found by several state high courts with language in their education articles similar to the California article. Further, the amici argue that courts can and should enforce the qualitative education rights assured by state constitutions, California included.