Florida Failing Its Schoolchildren, High Dropout Rates Violate State Constitution

Last week, the ACLU filed a class-action lawsuit against Florida state officials for violating the state constitution, which guarantees a free "uniform, efficient, safe, secure and high quality" public education to its citizens. In Florida's Palm Beach County, between one-third and one-half of students do not graduate from high school, depending on the method of calculation used (the most generous, not surprisingly, is Florida's self-reported method).

In addition to low graduation rates, a significant disparity exists between the graduation rates of African-American and Hispanic students and those of white students in Palm Beach County. The stark difference across racial lines is evidence enough of a constitutional violation, but the ACLU lawsuit aims to improve the graduation rates for all students enrolled in Palm Beach County. Our case, Aho v. State of Florida, is novel because the only remedy we seek is a meaningful improvement in Palm Beach County's graduation rates without pushing students out of the system. The State of Florida and district officials can decide how to best achieve those results.

It is no secret that a quality education exponentially increases one's chances of success in life. Wayward parents are often blamed for a failing education system, but this lawsuit demonstrates that even parents following every imaginable step to access a quality education are let down by Palm Beach County schools. Beyond that, the school system has a constitutional obligation to educate all students, even those who are not from privileged backgrounds. The district's graduation rates, which fall well below state and national averages, also cannot be explained by low socioeconomic status, as students in similar and/or worse socioeconomic conditions do far better in other districts.

We understand that Palm Beach County has a difficult job to do. But kids in Florida deserve an environment that promotes opportunity and success and fulfills the constitutional right promised to them, regardless of their race, age, disability, district, and no matter how easy or convenient it is to provide. After all, what good is a constitutional right when it's left unenforced?

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Educated Parents

Can we file a class action suit against Culpeper County Schools, Culpeper, Virginia? I ask that one be filed because this school system discriminates against minority students. Not only are they not being adequately taught, they are always on suspension for ridiculous matters.

Culpeper is about 65 miles southwest of D.C. someone has got to come here and investigate this Failing School System. Our students are being left behind.

Educated Parents

Culpeper County School system is a lot like Palm Beach County. Why are our children being left behind? As parents it is our duty to teach our children. I agree. So what are the teachers for? What is the purpose of their professional existence if all they push is worksheet after worksheet.

Virginia Department of Education should have the very same law suit on their hands. It is a matter of justice. Slavery has ended but yet those that have been entrusted with our educational growth would like to see us enslaved.

Anonymous

Why would you sue them? Take a second and think about it. I can see why the aclu would, because all they care about is money. But if your child is in a school that you think is not working well, take it up wiht the school, get the neighborhood involved, do what you got to do. Or you could follow the aclu lead, and sue them, and watch them go right back to how they where acting.

Educated Parents

Well, the issue has been brought up to not only the school system but the Virginia Department of Education. I have contacted the ACLU and would love to get them involved; Not for me and my children but for all the children that are being left behind. The ACLU has a national stage and I do not!

Educated Parents

Fuck off Anonymous, I need edumication for my kids!

Maggie

#5 that language really does not help you case.

Free the Children

I think that it is best for the children and society at large if children are not forced to attend schools. Children are naturally curious and will learn more and in a better way if they are not forced to sit in a classroom and be taught at by some "authority." I'm not even advocating for home-schooling, that still is forcing children to learn. I am advocating for unschooling. I encourage everyone reading this to check your local library for the book "Instead of Education; Ways to Help People Do Things Better" by John C. Holt. Any child that doesn't want to be in school surely isn't going to do the best for themselves that they could be.

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