Judges can't "fix" education (Whipple)
09/29/2019 Filed in: News Journal
All three Constitution Day essays implicitly supported a Delaware school funding lawsuit. Herewith some counterpoint.
One: I agree that "most policy choices in a democracy” should be made by elected officials including overall taxes and funding levels for government programs. Non-elected judges have no special expertise in making such choices, nor can the voters hold them accountable.
Two: The US Supreme Court has held “education is not a fundamental interest under the federal constitution” so educational adequacy claims are generally brought in state courts. Plaintiffs have reportedly prevailed in 60% of such cases.
Should SCOTUS issue a national ruling to make it unanimous? I would vote “no.”
Three: There is a telling omission in the chronicle of education for black students in Delaware. Issued a decade after Delaware schools had been desegregated, the federal busing order was intended to achieve greater admixture of black and white students in northern New Castle County.
It led to closure of the Wilmington School District, division of Wilmington students between several suburban school districts, and other problems that continue to plague area schools.
What an instructive example of how well-intentioned court orders can go awry.
William Whipple III