January 2009
In This Issue
Resources
In November 2008, the New Jersey Supreme Court stepped in to protect the educational rights of the State's most needy schoolchildren by ordering a remand in the Abbott v. Burke case. Superior Court Judge Peter E. Doyne will hold expedited hearings to fully vet the constitutionality of a new school funding formula, the School Funding Reform Act of 2008 (SFRA). The hastily passed SFRA eliminates the Abbott designation for the State's 31 lowest-wealth districts and also relieves the State from its special responsibilities for ensuring educational quality in those districts by providing specific programs to address the extraordinary needs of students and schools. The quality and availability of Abbott preschool programs was also uncertain under the SFRA.
On January 9, the US Supreme Court agreed to decide an Arizona case about the state's responsibility to provide equal educational opportunity to students learning English. “I am disappointed,” said Tim Hogan, who urged the Court to stay out of the case and represents the plaintiff schoolchildren and their parents. At least one equal opportunity proponent claims the Court is overreaching simply by taking the case.
President-elect Obama's Education Transition Team, chaired by Linda Darling-Hammond, heard from education advocates in December, including Education Justice Director Molly Hunter and others representing the Forum on Educational Accountability, a group of organizations dedicated to improving federal education policy and funding. Hunter and a small group of representatives from FEA also met in late 2008 with staff for the Senate HELP Committee and the House Committee on Education & Labor.
In the effort to support equal educational opportunity in education, Howard University School of Law recently established the Education Rights Center to conduct legal, empirical, and social science research on the extent of educational inequality in our schools. The Center will use this research to foster legislative reforms, support grassroots advocacy groups, and substantiate plaintiffs' claims in adequacy and equity suits. The Center welcomes discussions with advocates as to how the Center might produce specific research that is relevant to their pending or potential claims.
January 20, 2009 Appellants' opening briefs due to be filed with the Missouri Supreme Court in Committee for Educational Equality v. State of Missouri. (Appellants' reply briefs will be due by March 31, 2009.)
February 9, 2009 Remand proceedings begin in Abbott v. Burke before N.J. Superior Court Judge Peter E. Doyne.
February 19, 2009 The briefs of petitioners are due to be filed with the U.S. Supreme Court in Horne v. Flores and Speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives v. Flores. (See our Flores story above.) The briefs of respondents are due March 18, 2009.
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.
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.


CONTACT INFORMATION


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Web: http://www.startingat3.org/state_laws/
 
State-by-state information on school funding litigation, past and pending, can be found at this web page.


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