© 2024 Texas Public Radio
Real. Reliable. Texas Public Radio.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Fronteras: ‘This is our legacy’ — Commemorating 50 years of the fight for school finance equity in Rodriguez vs San Antonio ISD

In the late 1960s and early `70s, San Antonio became home to the fight for equitable funding of Texas schools.

Residents who lived in the Edgewood Independent School District on San Antonio’s mostly Latino West Side noticed stark inequities in education funding compared to the city’s more affluent districts.

Demetrio Rodriguez and a group of other concerned parents filed a class action lawsuit, Rodriguez et al vs. San Antonio ISD, on behalf of students of color in low-income school districts.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 against Rodriguez and the parents in 1973. It argued the Constitution does not grant a fundamental right to an education.

This still stands today.

Celina Moreno, CEO and President of nonprofit IDRA, says the case is a stain in American history.

“This case will go down — and has gone down — as one of the worst cases in U.S. Supreme Court history,” she said. “It forced civil rights justice lawyers and communities across the country to seek education just by going state- to- state and using the state constitutions to seek education.”

Trinity University and IDRA are co-sponsoring an eventwith Edgewood ISD that commemorates the 50th anniversary of Rodriguez vs San Antonio ISD.

Enrique Alemán Jr. is the Lillian Radford Endowed Professor of Education at Trinity and the Director for Trinity's Center for Educational Leadership.

He said it’s important to remember the case, even if it wasn’t a victory for Latinos or poor students of color.

“It’s a way for us … to remind ourselves that the struggle continues,” he said. “This resistance, this leadership, this activism, has always been part of our community.”

The event takes place March 22, 4:30-7:30 p.m., at the Edgewood ISD Performing Arts Center. It will also be streamed on the Edgewood ISD YouTube channel.

Norma Martinez can be reached at norma@tpr.org and on Twitter at @NormDog1