A divided Iowa Supreme Court has dismissed a lawsuit brought by 16 parents who said the governor and state education leaders were not doing enough to ensure all Iowa kids get a good education. Parents from the Davenport, Des Moines and West Harrison public schools filed the suit in 2008 against then-Governor Chet Culver, the Department of Education and its director at the time.
The parents claimed the state failed to establish and enforce education standards, failed to adopt an effective pay system for educators, and failed to establish and maintain an adequate education delivery system for state schools. The suit said smaller districts are at a disadvantage because of the state’s inaction.
The district court dismissed the case, saying it’s an issue for state lawmakers to address. The Iowa Supreme Court agreed, saying it has historically deferred policy decisions to the political branches of government. The 4-3 decision generated more discussion than is usually seen in opinions.
Chief Justice Mark Cady and Justice David Wiggins filed their own concurring opinions with the majority. Justice David Wiggins filed a dissenting opinion, which justices Daryl Hecht and Brent Appel joined in support. Appel also filed his own dissenting opinion, which justice Hecht joined in support.
See the complete ruling here: Education suit PDF