A group of parents plan to file a lawsuit against Massachusetts’ education leaders, accusing them of not providing low-income black and Latino students the same quality of education as their more well off white peers.
According to the lawsuit, the spending gaps between poor and affluent systems have been widening for years, giving well off students access to the best education money can buy. Poor students, on the other hand, have to sit in crowded classrooms and use outdated textbooks and computers.
The lawsuit claims that it negatively affects their performance on standardized tests and reduces their ability to graduate from high school and attend college.
“Public education is no longer on a steady trajectory of progress but instead is suffering from an increasing inability to provide sufficient resources to meet ever-increasing educational challenges,” the lawsuit says. “Wealthier districts with relatively few disadvantaged students are educating their children by providing funding from local resources far in excess” of what the state requires.
Mayra Balderas, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, said that her 10-year-old son with special needs has been in classes with 33 students and the teachers there are overwhelmed.
“They are just contributing to the cycle of poverty because our students are not receiving a proper education so they can get successful jobs,” Balderas said.
Orange School Committee member and parent Danielle Anderson, another plaintiff, said that her committee had its annual budget meeting this week. If a Proposition 2 ½ override doesn’t pass, they may have to cut art, gym, music and technology classes.
“What do our children have to look forward to? What are they reaching out to?” Andersen said at a press conference. “There’s no places to go and see wonderful things. When I was little, our school took us here to Boston and we walked the Freedom Trail and we learned about who we were. How do you do that if you can’t see it, touch it and learn it for real? It’s just words, and when you’re hungry, you’re not hearing those words.”
The lawsuit asks for the court to rule that state officials have failed to ensure that an education is funded adequately. The ruling would require overhauling the entire state funding formula.