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Litigation in Other States

The Education Adequacy Project’s work is part of a national movement that aims to ensure that every child in America receives a suitable educational opportunity. Lawsuits challenging state methods of funding public schools have been brought in 45 of the 50 states. While the Supreme Court has held that education is not a federal right under the federal constitution, almost all state constitutions include education clauses which, to vary extents, oblige states to provide free and adequate educational opportunities.

In state courts, equal protection claims were common in the 1970s and 1980s, but states won about two-thirds of those cases. However, since 1989, plaintiffs have won about two-thirds of the school funding decisions. Many of these victories resulted, in part, from a shift in legal strategy away from "equity" claims to "adequacy" claims. 

Recently, plaintiffs in New York won a suit in which the court ordered that New York City public schools receive an additional $5.63 billion for annual operating aid.