Providing Access to a Quality Education
The right to an equal educational opportunity is a fundamental right for children in the United States. A quality education is their portal to professional success, societal integration, and personal achievement. MALDEF will continue its efforts to ensure that students have equal access to educational opportunities regardless of income, nationality, or language skills.
In 1970, the United States District Court of the Eastern District of Texas ordered the State of Texas and nine school districts to remedy past discrimination that continued to harm the educational achievement of minority students in the State. Almost 40 years later, MALDEF still continues to monitor the districts and ensure that all students have equal opportunity and resources for a quality education.
In 1980, the United States entered into a desegregation Consent Decree with the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to create greater educational opportunity for the city’s minority students and English language learner (ELL) students. MALDEF, the ACLU, and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights monitored the CPS’s compliance with the desegregation consent decree, which was modified over the course of the next two decades.
This class action lawsuit was filed in 1970 by Ms. Genoveva Morales on behalf of her children against the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District at the height of the Latino civil rights movement. In 1975, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit found that Uvalde C.I.S.D. in Texas had failed to desegregate its school system in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
This case was filed in 1970 by the United States against the Ector County Independent School District for failing to desegregate its public schools and that same year, the United States District Court Judge ordered the District to desegregate. In 1981, MALDEF intervened on behalf of an organization of Latino and African American parents of school children because the District had never submitted a desegregation plan and the District continued to operate a dual school system.
In 1974, MALDEF filed a desegregation case on behalf of Latino parents and students in Tucson, Arizona. More than 30 years later, MALDEF continues to protect the rights of Latino and minority students in the district.
MALDEF joined forces with the Los Angeles Unified School District, frustrated parents and students to fight against the Los Angeles Conservancy who moved to delay school construction. With successful results families who face the detrimental effects of overcrowded schools, can now anticipate three new schools in the area.
In a troubling and potentially short-sighted June 2007 decision, the United States Supreme Court held that school systems violated the Equal Protection clause when they considered race in assigning students to public schools to achieve desegregation. At issue in the two consolidated cases, Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1 and Meredith v. Jefferson County Board of Education, was the continued authority of local school districts to take voluntary action to reduce racial segregation and isolation in their schools.
MALDEF represented Latino parents who alleged that Preston Hollow Elementary School illegally used its ESL program to segregate Latino and minority students from Anglo students, irrespective of their language abilities.
In the most recent state school finance case, West Orange-Cove C.I.S.D. v. Neeley, wealthy school districts challenged the state financing system arguing that the tax cap prevented them from meeting the accreditation standards imposed by the state and from exercising meaningful discretion in setting their tax rates, thus constituting an illegal state tax.