Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding, Inc. v. Rell

State: Connecticut

Filed: 2017

Court: Supreme Court of Connecticut

Overview: The brief argued that the requirement that the state adopt standards that focus its special education efforts on students “who can profit from some form of elementary and secondary education,” rather than “spend fruitlessly on some at the expense of others,” violates the IDEA, which mandates that all students with disabilities be provided a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment. The brief focused on research demonstrating that even students with the most severe disabilities can learn and often exceed expectations, the legislative history of the IDEA making clear that all students with disabilities are guaranteed the right to an education, and the fact that failure to educate these students violates the ADA’s integration mandate which has been vital in ensuring that people with disabilities have access to opportunities that allow them to live in the community, learn in general education settings, obtain post-secondary education, and work in integrated jobs at competitive wages.

Excerpt: “The IDEA’s mandate that schools must educate all students with disabilities extends to children with an array of cognitive, physical, sensory, health, and alertness disabilities – those known as having a ‘profound’ disability because they have variable patterns of reflexive movements, minimal or inconsistent responses to stimuli, small response repertories, few voluntary behaviors, and/or variability in alertness and orienting. The obligation extends to these students because they are able to benefit from education, including education in the general curriculum; they are able to master functional and academic skills; they are able to learn and make progress in academic, functional, and developmental domains; and they are able to do so when educated with children without disabilities. Indeed, the science of educability does not justify educators, or any other persons, in assuming that a student’s current cognitive or communicative skills are fixed or absolute and thus represent the highest level of the student’s capacity.”

Case Documents

Amicus Brief: Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding, Inc. v. Rell

CT Supreme Court Opinion

Related Media

Press Release: “The Arc Responds to Connecticut Court Ruling on Education and Access for Children with Disabilities

The Arc Blog: “Good Outcome in Connecticut School Funding Case

Hartford Courant: “Parents Of Special Needs Children Join Appeal Of Education Funding Decision