Legal Precedent and the Opportunity for Educational Equity: Where to Now, Colorado?

Molly A. Hunter *

Kathleen J. Gebhardt **

Since the 1600s in New England and at least the late 1700s more broadly, colonies, states, and the U.S. Congress have recognized the importance of educational opportunity to prepare children for the responsibilities of citizenship and the challenges of changing times. While a Massachusetts court decided the first litigation for fair school funding in 1819, the modern era of these cases began with decisions in California, New Jersey, and the U.S. Supreme Court in the early 1970s. An attempt to rely on federal equal protection for funding equity in San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez led to the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision declaring that education is not a fundamental right under the federal Constitution.

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* Director, Education Justice, The National Program at the Education Law Center.

** Executive Director, Children‘s Voices in Colorado; Plaintiffs‘ Lead Counsel in Lobato v. State of Colorado and Dwyer v. State of Colorado.

The authors thank Courtney B. Warren, Associate at Bryan Cave LLP, for research essential to this article.