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Copyright (c) 2002 Jefferson Law Book Company, Division of Anderson Publishing Co.
Journal of Law & Education

ARTICLE: Achieving Equitable Education Through the Courts: A Comparative Analysis of Three States

January, 2002

31 J.L. & Educ. 1


Liz Kramer*



Education is of critical importance to our nation. Not only does it impart social values and allow children to attain skills necessary to participate in both our labor market and our democracy, 1 but it is the underpinning of our self-image as "the land of the free." With a good education, we believe a child from any background can grow up to be president of the United States. The Supreme Court recognized these values when Chief Justice Warren declared:
Today, education is perhaps the most important function of state and local governments. . . . In these days, it is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he is denied the opportunity of an education. Such an opportunity, where the state has undertaken to provide it, is a right which must be made available to all on equal terms. 2

States and localities have affirmed the importance of education by putting their money where their collective mouths are--in 1996-97 they spent about $ 292 billion dollars on elementary and secondary education, 3 almost exactly what the federal government spends on defense. 4

Given the shared understanding of the pivotal role education plays in our society, why are many students still languishing without a quality education? Plaintiffs in a recent lawsuit against the State of California alleged the following facts facing students at Luther Burbank Middle School in San Francisco:
At Luther Burbank, students cannot take textbooks home for homework in any ...
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