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Why Some Parents Are Suing Their States Over Their Children’s Education

By Nigel Boys

According to the Pew Charitable Trusts’ daily news service, Stateline, several states in the U.S. are being sued by parents who claim that they are failing to keep their promises of educating their children to a satisfactory standard.

Kansas, New York and Texas states are only a few of the 11 states that are being taken to court for either cutting their education budget or failing to provide adequate education in their schools.

The Stateline article continues that, although most states have been taken to court for failure to keep their promises to educate their students in the past, the new cases that are cropping up are filed for somewhat different reasons.

According to David Sciarra, executive director of the Education Law Center, New Jersey, although many states have promised to give higher educational standards and keep an eye on those standards being observed in their schools, they have failed to come up with adequate measures to finance them.

However, Eric Hanushek, part of the Hoover Institution, a think tank on the campus of Stanford University, does not agree that finding the money is the problem that most states face. He believes that the predicament that states have to concentrate on is how to use that funding.

Hanushek went on to say that “It’s very difficult for the courts to address issues of how money is spent. They can’t enforce it, they don’t have the capacity to make these kinds of policy decisions very well, so the courts generally stick quite narrowly to how much money is spent,” he continued, “That hasn’t been very effective in terms of improving achievement.”

The educational expert continued that he believes that in order to improve the standards of student education in state schools, the authorities need to concern themselves with a higher standard of teaching. He added that some states have already started to evaluate their teachers on a regular basis and this is the only way for student’s educational standards to improve.

Stanford Law School’s director of the Youth and Education Law Project, William Koski, believes that the states need to be taken to court to force them into keeping what they have promised their constituents. He added that the courts are doing a fine job or holding the states answerable, without enforcing what is taught in the schools.

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