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Should access to a public education be a constitutional right for all children?

Close to 40 years after the U.S. Supreme Court issued its landmark ruling in San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez, the decision’s implications are still a central topic of debate among educators, scholars, lawmakers and members of school communities across the U.S.

Low-income parents in a Texas school district, which was not as well funded as neighboring affluent districts, filed the lawsuit in 1968 alleging that this inequity violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution’s 14th Amendment. They argued the state’s system — under which public schools rely on local property taxes as a source of revenue — meant poorer districts would inherently be disadvantaged.

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