February 2011 Issue:
Resources:
Pending court cases, in Kansas and Indiana, want to change provisions in those states' school funding laws which improve equity for low-wealth school districts. Most state school funding systems are already inequitable, but these cases seek less equity.
In a statement titled "All Children Deserve the Opportunity to Learn," the education, civil rights, and other leaders of the Forum on Educational Accountability (FEA) today called on U.S. policymakers to promote opportunities to learn in the reauthorization of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act. FEA also called on the new national Education Equity and Excellence Commission---announced recently by Education Secretary Arne Duncan---to adopt FEA's recommendations, such as using federal funds to improve education equity.
As I write, thousands of teachers are staging a protest in the state capitol in Wisconsin. Others stand with them, including the Green Bay Packers, other public-sector workers, and even public-sector workers who are not affected by the proposed legislation, namely, firefighters and police. The teachers and other public-sector employees are speaking out against Gov. Scott Walker's effort to destroy their collective-bargaining rights. Gov. Walker demanded that the teachers pay more for their health benefits and their pension benefits, and they have agreed to do so. But that's not all he wants. He wants to destroy the union.
In many states, policymakers offer big tax breaks to create jobs, but too often the tax breaks are made and the jobs never show up. The thrust of the op-ed, below, likely applies in your state, too. Visit the Good Jobs First website for information on your state.
Because more litigation news has developed, we offer another update this month. See the separate article on Kansas and Indiana in Defending Equity in Education and last month's Litigation Update here.
Within a few days, a Kansas federal court ruling is expected on a preliminary injunction request in a case by parents in a well-to-do school district asking court to declare part of Kansas statute that limits local school taxes declared unconstitutional under U.S. Constitution.
Plaintiffs still await a decision from the South Carolina Supreme Court in the educational opportunity case Abbeville v. State, which was argued over two years ago.
The supreme courts of Washington and South Dakota will rule on appeals in educational opportunity and adequacy/equity cases in those states' courts. Plaintiffs won in the trial court in Washington, and defendants won in the trial court in South Dakota.
A remand court in New Jersey will rule on whether the state has met its burden in claiming that school districts can deliver a "thorough and efficient" education under the "core content standards" to their children despite the impacts of funding cuts.
March 15, 2011 -- ETS and ELC (Education Law Center) will host a briefing on Is School Funding Fair? A National Report Card for policy and civil rights organizations interested in fair funding and opportunity, Washington, DC.
March 28, 2011 -- Northeastern Law School's Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy presents The Right to Education, including remarks on school finance inequities by Education Justice's Molly A. Hunter, Boston, MA.
March 2011 -- First public hearing for the national education Equity and Excellence Commission in Congressman Mike Honda's district, Northern Calif.
March 2011 -- The Pennsylvania Bar Association's Constitutional Review Commission/ Committee on Public Education will hold a public hearing in which Michael Churchill, of the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia (PILCOP), and Molly Hunter, of EdJustice, will present testimony, Harrisburg, PA.
April 2011 -- ELC (Education Law Center) will host a Hill Briefing on Is School Funding Fair? A National Report Card for Capitol Hill staff, 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.

-- Dietrich Bonhoeffer


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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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