Martinez v. Malloy: Plaintiffs Respond to State’s Motion to Dismiss

Today, the students and parents who brought the landmark educational equity and adequacy lawsuit Martinez v. Malloy filed a response to the State of Connecticut’s motion to dismiss their case. The Martinez lawsuit challenges Connecticut’s “Anti-Opportunity Laws” — a magnet school moratorium, a cap on charter public schools and the laws discouraging the Open Choice enrollment program — that prevent thousands of students from accessing quality public schools.

Jessica Martinez, mother of one of the student plaintiffs in Martinez v. Malloy

The Plaintiffs’ response to the State’s motion to dismiss highlights three key arguments:

  • First, these State-created barriers restrict the number of quality public school options, leaving Plaintiffs — and countless other Connecticut students — without an opportunity to compete with their more affluent peers, forcing them to attend traditional district schools that the State knows are failing.  
  • Second, when a state provides its citizens with public education, it has a constitutional duty to ensure that all of its citizens can exercise that right to education in an adequate and equitable manner. Connecticut must not prevent its low-income students from obtaining the same public educational opportunities enjoyed by its higher-income students. 
  • Lastly, Connecticut’s Anti-Opportunity Laws violate the U.S. Constitution by forcing thousands of students to attend severely underperforming public schools — schools that the State knows do not provide students with the necessary tools to succeed academically or to become productive and successful members of society.

Jessica Martinez, mother of one of the student plaintiffs in Martinez v. Malloy highlighted the importance of this case: “Being stuck, year after year, on long waitlists for decent schools is devastating to hardworking Connecticut parents who want the best for their children. We know what an excellent public education looks like, and we will not allow a broken system to tell our children that they are somehow undeserving of one. We demand an end to these outdated laws so that every child has a shot at the American Dream.”