January 2010
In This Issue
Resources
A standing-room-only crowd had the opportunity earlier this month to hear education policy leaders, Linda Darling-Hammond, Gene Willhoit, and Monty Neil, discuss the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. “Getting Assessment Right in ESEA Reauthorization” was the first event in “Transforming ESEA: Helping Public Schools Improve,” a series of public discussions in Washington, D.C. sponsored by the Forum on Educational Accountability. Building on this well-received forum, FEA will host “All Kids Deserve the Opportunity to Learn,” featuring Dr. John Jackson, Dr. Patricia Gándara, and Molly Hunter, Esq., at the U.S. Senate on February 22.
In October, a North Carolina appellate court found in King v. Beaufort County Board of Ed. that the state is not required to provide an alternative education program to students given long-term suspensions while they are out of school. Exclusionary school discipline policies like the one upheld in this case, along with policing practices, high-stakes testing, segregated education, lack of educational opportunities for students in juvenile detention, and other problematic policies, together create what has been dubbed the “School to Prison Pipeline,” whereby students are pushed out of school and into the criminal justice system. Advocates around the country are adopting a variety of approaches to stem this tide, which has been described as one of the most important civil rights challenges facing our nation today.
In her joint blog with Deborah Meier, Diane Ravitch, former Assistant Secretary of Education under President George H.W. Bush, recently critiqued the popular notion that “schools must be redesigned to function like businesses.” These reforms, she explains, cause schools to narrow their focus to easily-measurable goals and are unlikely to improve student learning.
 
As 2010 begins, we look back at many of the significant events in education quality litigation over the past year, provide updates on their status, and consider what is in store for the coming months.
 
Kenneth J. Bernstein, in this guest editorial, writes that “there are few places less democratic than the average American school.” He urges people to read a new book by Sam Chaltain, titled American Schools: The Art of Creating a Democratic Learning Community, which “offers concrete suggestions for how to make our schools democracies in action” and “provides an opportunity to expand how we think about the function and structure of schools, particularly public schools.”
The 21st Century School Fund, Critical Exposure and Healthy Schools Campaign recently released Through Your Lens: Student and Teacher Views of School Facilities Across America. This publication brings together the vivid photos and poignant stories of students and teachers across America with context from statistics, maps and background. It illustrates current school conditions, how our system reached this point, and what is possible for all students and teachers. Perhaps most important, it answers the question, “How can we change this?”
High Court Decisions Anticipated
Plaintiffs still await decisions from state supreme courts in Abbeville County Sch. Dist. v. State of South Carolina and Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding v. Rell, both of which were argued over a year ago.
February 8-10, 2010
Stimulating Equity: The Impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act on Educational Opportunity, the fifth annual Equity Symposium at Teachers College, Columbia University, includes a presentation by Bruce Baker and David Sciarra, New York, NY.
February 22, 2010
All Kids Deserve the Opportunity to Learn, the second event in a series entitled “Transforming ESEA: Helping Public Schools Improve,” presented by the Forum on Educational Accountability (FEA), features Dr. John Jackson, Dr. Patricia Gándara, and Molly Hunter, Esq., Washington, DC. Register here.
March 1, 2010
“Race, Class, and Reform: a Panel discussion about Education Reform in America,” presented by the National Institute for Early Education Research and Education Law Center, features Michael Nettles, Irving S. Hamer, Jr, Jeannie Oakes, David Sciarra, and Peter McFarlane, New York, NY.
March 17, 2010
“Accountability that Advances Learning,” the third event in a series entitled “Transforming ESEA: Helping Public Schools Improve,” presented by the Forum on Educational Accountability (FEA), features Richard Rothstein, Doug Christensen and Beth Foley, Washington, DC.
April 27, 2010
“The Flat World and Education: What the Nation Can Learn from New Jersey,” lecture by Stanford Professor Linda Darling-Hammond, is presented by the National Institute for Early Education Research and Education Law Center, New Brunswick, NJ.
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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