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Lawsuit Seeks to Grow More Charter and Magnet Schools in Connecticut

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Chion Wolf
/
WNPR
Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen.

Connecticut officials are asking a federal court to throw out a lawsuit filed by school choice advocates, who want the state to allow more charter and magnet schools to be built in the state. 

The state currently has laws in place that limit the number of charter and magnet schools that can be built.

In August, a group of parents from Bridgeport and Hartford filed the lawsuit, claiming the state's cap is unconstitutional, as it limits the choices available to students of color who attend failing public schools.

A California non-profit called Students Matter is also supporting the plaintiffs. This is the same group that unsuccessfully tried to end teacher tenure in California. They argue that the state's charter and magnet school restrictions contribute to Connecticut's high achievement gap between wealthy and poor school districts.

But in recent filing, the state's attorney general argues that the lawsuit should be tossed, based on a 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that said federal courts cannot interfere with states' sovereign right to determine public education policy.

A state court recently ruled that Connecticut's education system violates the state's constitution, a case that included similar arguments. The state is appealing that decision to the Connecticut Supreme Court.

David finds and tells stories about education and learning for WNPR radio and its website. He also teaches journalism and media literacy to high school students, and he starts the year with the lesson: “Conflicts of interest: Real or perceived? Both matter.” He thinks he has a sense of humor, and he also finds writing in the third person awkward, but he does it anyway.

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