Please attribute this statement to Hector Villagra, executive director of the ACLU of Southern California:

"For years, the ACLU of Southern California has called upon state education officials to fulfill their obligation under the California Constitution to ensure all students receive equal educational opportunity. We have repeatedly been forced to go to court to get state officials to pay attention to shocking disparities in educational opportunity, and yet those state agencies continue to drag their feet and ignore that students, especially those in low-income communities, often lack even the most basic resources needed to learn.

Today’s ruling is yet another reminder of the unwillingness of elected state officials to do their job. The fact that many California schools are failing both students and teachers is the state’s  responsibility. The solution to this shameful situation isn’t to pit the rights of students against those of teachers; we should demand the best from each.  Rather, what is desperately needed is for California education officers to step up and change the status quo so that students can learn, and teachers can teach, to their potentials.  The rights of students and teachers are inextricably intertwined. If they are to succeed, the state must ensure they have the resources and support they need.

We all know what good schools are. Hopefully, this decision, on top of so many before it, will move the state to make all schools places where hard work can and will be properly encouraged and supported, where the quality of a school is not dependent upon the  neighborhood where it is situated. The formula for success is not beyond us.  The state knows full well what must be done.  It’s a question of will."

Hector Villagra is executive director at the ACLU of Southern California. Follow Hector on Twitter.

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