NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Using The Courts To Improve Schools

September 17, 1999

Frustrated parents intent on improving their children's schools have several options: they can try to elect a new school board, move, seek out private schools -- or go to court. Parents and students both are turning to that final option.

  • Parents in Plano, Texas, have filed a series of lawsuits challenging their school district's intention to use textbooks that rely on so-called connected math in all schools.
  • In Inglewood, Calif., four students are suing the state and the school district on the grounds that the high school offers only three Advanced Placement classes -- far fewer than some other schools -- and that their state constitutional rights to a free and equal education are being violated.
  • A mother in Ft. Zumwalt, Mo., is suing the school district for not offering her autistic son a program she believes provides the best chance for him to learn to speak and function more normally.

Experts say that such suits point up the need to rely more heavily on vouchers and charter schools so that parents can tailor their children's education to their individual needs.

Jeanne Allen, president of the Center for Education Reform, says greater school choice would help all parents facing such dilemmas.

Source: Anna Bray Duff, "Parents Sue for Better Schools," Investor's Business Daily, September 17, 1999.


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