January 2011 Issue:
A new "National Commission on Education Equity and Excellence" will soon begin gathering information on how to improve educational opportunity and school funding equity. The Commission is based on a proposal by Congressman Mike Honda, subsequently approved by Congress.
As 2011 begins, there are many quality education litigations in state courts and more may be filed this year. In CO, CT, FL, IL, and KS, cases are moving toward trial; an Arizona federal trial concludes this month; and, a CA trial court will soon rule on motions to dismiss. Court rulings are on appeal in WA, SD and NY; the parties await decisions from courts in NJ and SC; compliance proceedings are pending in AK; and, RI plaintiffs plan to file an amended complaint soon. Related civil rights complaints on discipline and segregation are also moving through courts and administrative processes.
"Too many New Orleans students still struggle to access even the most basic education services," says Shakti Belway, Southern Poverty Law Center, "while others suffer under brutal disciplinary practices." a new report by the Center, exposes numerous systemic failures plaguing the New Orleans education system in the areas of school discipline and special education, and provides a cautionary tale for school districts and states that might look to New Orleans for education reform solutions.
PISA, the "Program for International Student Assessment," recently tested 28 million 15-year-olds in 74 countries. The results are in, and, not surprisingly, countries that provide fair funding and quality opportunities to all their children have higher scores. The U.S. is one of only four countries that provide less to schools teaching low-wealth students than to schools where students are wealthier, PISA finds.
Most people agree that all kids deserve the opportunity to learn, and research confirms the common-sense notion that the quality of school facilities affects teaching and learning. But, states often fail to provide adequate buildings to house many of their schools, and the federal government is almost completely absent from this important part of education.
Jan. 11, 2011 -- South Dakota Supreme Court oral argument in the educational opportunity case Davis v. State (formerly South Dakota Coalition of Schools (SDCS) v. State), Pierre, SD.
Jan. 19, 2011 -- Symposium on "Standardized Tests and Teacher Accountability: THE RESEARCH," with Richard Rothstein, Henry Braun, Sean Corcoran, and Laura Goe, Princeton, NJ.
Late Jan. or Early Feb. 2011 -- U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will announce the 15 members of the "National Commission on Education Equity and Excellence," initiated by Congressman Mike Honda, Washington, DC, or San Jose, CA.
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 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


Email: info@educationjustice.org

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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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