Litigation is not the way to change the education system

Lyndon Johnson told us that education “provides an escape from poverty”. Nelson Mandela said it was “the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world”. And the eminent educator, Horace Mann has asserted that education is the “great equalizer” of the human condition. You may have noticed that in all the campaign flyers you have received, most feature the candidate in class or read to a child and include bullet points on the importance of education in combating all sorts of social ills , from poverty to armed violence. And it’s true, education is a powerful weapon. Education can serve as a gateway to the American dream while a lack of educational opportunities statistically leads to poverty and involvement in the criminal justice system. A 2016 study, for example, found that high school dropouts are four times more likely to be arrested, become dependent on government assistance, and use drugs.

Lawsuits as Costs of Doing Business

Like many civil rights lawyers, lawyers who enter the field of special education do so inspired by Thurgood Marshall, who aimed, among other things, to force change in an inequitable and unjust education system through of disputes. But, as any seasoned civil rights lawyer will tell you, whether it’s special education, Title IX claims, or police brutality, civil rights lawsuits don’t often inspire change. system we are looking for. Each claimant is healed with a settlement that is very good for the individual claimant with little to no impact on the system. It’s as if lawsuits are just the “costs of doing business” and the system — whether it’s a police department or a school district — largely continues to operate the same. way than before the prosecution.

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