February 2009
In This Issue
Resources
Wendy D. Puriefoy, President of the Public Education Network, calls upon President Obama to lead the way and mobilize all stakeholders towards the common purpose of our children's education. “Access to a high-quality public education is a civil right. Securing this right for all children demands of our nation and each citizen an inviolable resolve to directly address the educational disparities and inequities that we have too long suffered and tolerated — which are an ongoing, yet preventable, national tragedy.”
Bridge to Excellence (BTE), Maryland's visionary program to bring adequacy and equity to elementary and secondary classrooms, has successfully fueled increased student achievement and academic innovation throughout the state, according to a new independent analysis: “In the years following the implementation of BTE, local school systems demonstrated substantial improvements in the percentage of their student populations who were proficient in reading and mathematics.”
Education Justice is rapidly making its mark across the country by filing persuasive amicus curiae briefs in appeals in key school finance cases. In deciding a major school funding victory for Indiana schoolchildren in 2008, the Indiana Court of Appeals relied on arguments and information presented in an amicus brief prepared by Education Justice, along with the Rural Trust. Because of its broad experience with school funding issues in past and pending litigation, Education Justice is ideally suited to partner with advocates and attorneys as a “friend of the court” and help judges comprehend key issues.
On January 8, President Obama announced his American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan, a blueprint for long-term economic growth and recovery. Investments in education are highlighted as a top priority for this plan in order to help children compete in the global economy. A version of this plan has already been passed by the House of Representatives. This ambitious plan is an essential step to improve educational outcomes for American schoolchildren. Advocates need to continue and expand efforts to make sure our policymakers in Washington keep their promises to fulfill the goals of the stimulus package and the President's education agenda.
A new book from The Century Foundation looks to the New Jersey experience for guidance on implementing effective changes in public education: “In Plain Sight: Simple, Difficult Lessons from New Jersey's Expensive Effort to Close the Achievement Gap.” Based on lessons learned in implementing successful reforms in New Jersey's low-wealth Abbott districts, the book recommends policies and practices that will narrow the achievement gap and improve the academic prospects for all children.
“Strengthening Opportunities to Learn in Challenging Economic Times” is the theme of the 9th Annual Quality Education Conference to be held May 7-8, 2009, in Washington, DC. This year's conference, sponsored by Education Justice, the National Access Network, and Education Voters of America, will again bring together plaintiff litigators, education advocates, community organizers, and policy experts to network and explore critical education reform issues.
We look forward to another exciting gathering. Our preliminary agenda includes workshops for litigators and workshops on revenue shortfalls, state advocacy and leadership, resource gaps, opportunity to learn, and other timely topics. This conference will be by invitation only. Let us know about people you would like us to invite by sending an e-mail to EdJustice .
February 6, 2009 “The ‘E’ in Thorough and Efficient: How Can We Insure Efficiency in Spending School Tax Dollars”: A conference at the Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University, sponsored by the Policy Research Institute for the Region (PRIOR) and the Public Education Institute (PEI).
February 9, 2009 Remand proceedings begin in Abbott v. Burke before N.J. Superior Court Judge Peter E. Doyne.
March 13, 2009 “Transforming No Child Left Behind”: EdJustice Director Molly Hunter will present at this National Council of Churches Committee on Public Education and Literacy event prior to the NCC's Ecumenical Advocacy Days in Washington, DC.
March 19-21, 2009 The American Education Finance Association's 34th Annual Conference, “Inside the Classroom Walls-Linking Education Finance and Policy With Teaching and Learning.” Nashville, TN
April 1, 2009 The Racial Justice Program of the ACLU and the New York Law School Justice Action Center's Racial Justice Project co-sponsor Challenging the School-to-Prison Pipeline: Harms and Remedies, a one-day conference in New York City for advocates, organizers, litigators, researchers and students. (By Invitation Only)
April 6, 2009 Final state Supreme Court briefs due in Committee for Educational Equality v. State of Missouri.
May 7-8, 2009 “Strengthening Opportunities to Learn in Challenging Economic Times,” the 9th Annual Quality Education Conference in Washington, DC.
Send announcements of upcoming events for the Education Justice calendar to: info@educationjustice.org

The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children.


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State-by-state information on school funding litigation, past and pending, can be found at this web page.


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