All Delaware Children Are Entitled to an Adequate Education

Lawyers from CLASI and the ACLU of Delaware have filed suit in the Delaware Court of Chancery asserting that Delaware’s education system is not providing all students a meaningful opportunity to obtain an adequate education, in violation of the Delaware Constitution. The suit is brought on behalf of Delawareans for Educational Opportunity and the Delaware NAACP.

According to the lawsuit, the state is failing students from low income families, students with disabilities and students who are English language learners. Test scores for these disadvantaged students are far below state standards set by the Delaware Department of Education. The scores demonstrate, by the state’s own measures, the failure to adequately educate these students.

The problems of low achievement for disadvantaged students have been long recognized and are detailed in state-commissioned task force reports issued in 2001, 2008 and 2015. These reports identify educational standards and interventions necessary to support achievement, including: smaller class size; expanded school time; highly qualified, specially trained teachers; a focus on early literacy; partnerships with health, family welfare and specialized education service providers; current technology; and effective family engagement. Yet, not all schools in Delaware are provided with enough resources to follow these recommendations and recent spending cuts have made them even further out of reach.

Delawareans for Educational Opportunity is an association of concerned parents and community leaders that includes parents of low-income students, students with disabilities and English language learners. Delaware NAACP is dedicated to ensuring that all students have an equal opportunity to obtain a high quality public school education.

Plaintiffs are represented by Richard Morse and Brian Eng of CLASI and Ryan Tack-Hooper and Karen Lantz of the ACLU of Delaware.

The complaint is available here.