Today, as explained in a Wait, What? blog post last Friday, Attorney General George Jepsen, with the help and support of Governor Dannel Malloy, is asking a Connecticut Superior Court judge to dismiss the most important school finance lawsuit in nearly five decades. As noted in that blog, the case, CCJEF v. Rell, may well be the most important school finance lawsuit in Connecticut history.
Friday’s post, entitled “Jepsen/Malloy move to destroy most important school funding lawsuit in modern times,” points out that once upon a time, when Governor Dannel Malloy was Mayor Dan Malloy of Stamford, he not only supported the CCJEF v. Rell lawsuit but was an original plaintiff in the historic battle to force the State of Connecticut to fulfill its constitutional obligation to the children of Connecticut.
As a candidate for governor, Malloy repeatedly proclaimed that he would implement a solution to Connecticut’s school finance crisis and end the need for the CCJEF v. Rell case.
But now with Malloy’s support, Connecticut’s attorney general is trying to dismiss this important case altogether.
Governor Malloy and Attorney General Jepsen have the opportunity of a lifetime to put Connecticut’s school funding system on track, not only for this generation, but for generations to come. Instead of rising to the occasion, they are squandering the opportunity to make a profound difference for Connecticut and its children.
To understand the depth of their failure on this vital issue, read some of the previous Wait, What? blogs on this topic;
Despite having promised their support for the lawsuit, they are now not only trying to get the case dismissed, but are asking the court to prevent the Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding [CCJEF], a broad coalition of towns, schools, parents and public school advocates, from even serving as the plaintiffs in the case.
They are taking this unholy action despite the fact that the Connecticut Supreme Court ordered the lower court to hear the case.
And perhaps worst of all, this destructive action is being perpetrated by people who not only said they supported the lawsuit, but used that support to deceive the people of Connecticut into voting for them.
Dan Malloy and the education lawsuit of our lifetime;
On November 22, 2005, Stamford Mayor and Gubernatorial Candidate Dan Malloy issued a press release entitled “Malloy Supports Lawsuit Challenging Education Funding System…says that reforming the education funding system is an issue of ‘fundamental fairness.’”
Sometimes you’re just left shaking your head; wondering what on earth has happened to our “Leaders.”
A few months ago, Attorney General George Jepsen, with the direct approval of Governor Dannel Malloy, filed a legal motion in an attempt to ensure that Early Childhood Education was not included in the definition of what the Connecticut Supreme Court called the “adequate education” that is guaranteed in the Connecticut Constitution.
Now, Attorney General Jepsen has filed an unprecedented subpoena seeking tens of thousands of pages of documents belonging to ten of the school districts that brought the now-famous CCJEF vs. Rell lawsuit that led the Supreme Court to define what an “adequate education” meant.
While claiming to make 2012 the year of education… Attorney General George Jepsen, with the strong backing of Governor Malloy, is trying to get the courts to carve out Early Childhood Education from the definition of education.
As a result of the lawsuit brought by the Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding (CCJEF), the Connecticut Supreme Court not only reiterated that children have a constitutional right to an education, but that Connecticut’s education system must actually work and provide children with the knowledge and skills to succeed.
Then, three months ago, the attorney general, citing the fact that Connecticut’s Constitution only refers to primary and secondary schools, petitioned the courts to make it clear that when the state government addresses the constitutional provisions associated with funding education, Early Education programs are specifically removed from what needs to be done to fulfill the state’s duty to its children.
Jepsen has responded to criticism by saying;
“My office, on behalf of the state has not questioned the potential benefits of pre-school education or the wisdom of providing such services to Connecticut children as a matter of public policy
Rather, we have filed a motion asking the Court to decide – as a legal, not policy matter – whether the Connecticut constitution’s guarantee of ‘free public elementary and secondary schools” was intended to encompass pre-school services.”
You could call it the most important legal issue of the year.
You can certainly call it the biggest action George Jepsen has taken as Connecticut’s Attorney General. In fact, it may just be Jepsen’s biggest move in his twenty-three years or so in elective office.
The “IT” is the decision by George Jepsen, with the backing of Governor Malloy to carve out early education from the definition of education when it comes to ensuring our state and local governments meet their Constitutional obligation to provide our children with a quality education.
Call it a giant step backwards in the effort to ensure Connecticut’s children receive a quality education. That would be the effect of a move by Attorney General George Jepsen and Governor Dannel Malloy as they seek to carve out early childhood education from the definition of what Connecticut’s children have a constitutional right to receive.
And no, this isn’t some “education reform” proposal put forward by the Tea Baggers or other anti-government conservatives.
It is a very serious action on the part of Connecticut’s Democratic Attorney General, with the strong support of Connecticut’s Democratic Governor that calls on the state courts to remove early childhood education from the definition of Connecticut’s Constitutional responsibility to provide every child with a quality education.
About a year ago, Connecticut’s Supreme Court ruled in the case of Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding v. Rell that the State Constitution requires that every child have access to a quality education.
Consider it the most important Supreme Court ruling in nearly fifty years. In fact, it is safe to say it is the most significant court case since Connecticut’s State Constitution was updated and adopted in 1965.
The Supreme Court sent this landmark case back to the lower court to refine and work out the details related to ensuring every child’s constitutional right to a quality education is protected.
Now, thanks to a blockbuster news story that was published on CT Newsjunkie, we learn that Attorney General George Jepson – with the backing of Governor Dannel Malloy – has submitted a motion demanding the court carve out early childhood education from the constitutionally mandated rights our children have.