Court hears suit arguing youth aren't prepped for civic life
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A class action suit claiming the state of Rhode Island has failed to prepare young people to fully participate in civic life will be heard in federal court.
The state's motion to dismiss the suit brought by the Center for Educational Equity at Columbia University’s Teachers College and the Rhode Island Center for Justice against Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo, education officials and others will be heard Thursday in U.S. District Court, the Boston Globe reported.
Plaintiffs are asking for a ruling declaring that all students nationwide have a constitutional right to an education that prepares them to be capable voters and jurors, to exercise effectively all of their constitutional rights and to participate effectively and intelligently in a democratic political system. The suit also asks the court to force the state of Rhode Island to address the situation through new laws or policies.
Rhode Island, in particular, stands out because there is no requirement for students to take a civics course and no indication that teachers receive specialized training to teach the topic, among other issues, Michael Rebell, lead counsel and a professor at Teachers College, said last year.
The defendants argue that mandating the teaching of certain subjects has no place in a constitutional framework. Plaintiffs haven't explained exactly what they mean by ''educational adequacy,'' defendants also argued, and they should instead sue local school committees since school spending and curriculum is an issue of local control.