A judge in Connecticut has declared the state's system for funding school is unconstitutional and has ordered lawmakers to come up with a new formula for allocating money to public schools.
The Hartford Courant reports that Judge Thomas Moukawsher also directed the state to come up with clear standards for elementary and high schools, including developing a graduation test and overhauling the system of evaluating teachers, principals and superintendents.
The judge, reading his entire 90-page decision from the bench, declared that "Connecticut is defaulting on its constitutional duty" to fairly educate its poorest children.
"Nothing here was done lightly or blindly,'' Moukawsher said. "The court knows what its ruling means for many deeply ingrained practices, but it also has a marrow-deep understanding that if they are to succeed where they are most strained, schools have to be about teaching children and nothing else."
Moukawsher said the remedies he is ordering must be submitted to the court within 180 days.
The ruling is the culmination of an 11-year legal battle between the state and the Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding, an alliance of municipalities, school boards, teachers' unions and advocacy groups. The coalition contended that the state's education cost-sharing formula violates the state constitution and places an unfair burden on local property taxes to support school spending.
Video from NBC Connecticut: