July 2009
In This Issue
On June 25, 2009, the Supreme Court rendered its decision in Horne v. Flores, reversing the decision of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and sending the case back with instructions to consider improvements the state has made in the way schools teach English learners. The decision reduces the importance of the amount of money Arizona spends to help English language learners, but it gives the 9th Circuit an opportunity to reexamine the existing program and determine whether it's working.
The California Supreme Court has rejected the appeal in a case that challenged the 9,000-student Berkeley Unified School District's integration plan, which considers the racial demographics of students' neighborhoods in making enrollment decisions. Upholding the Berkeley plan is doubly important because the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against other voluntary school integration plans in 2007.
(A Guest Editorial by Marni Allen of BEST) - Federal K-12 school facilities funding can provide new opportunities for improved teaching and learning conditions and for job creation in low-income school districts.
Five years after its landmark study identified racial/ethnic and income gaps in life conditions and experiences associated with academic success, Educational Testing Service (ETS) has issued a new analysis that shows little progress in closing these critical gaps. The 2009 report, “Parsing the Achievement Gap II”, explains 16 factors that affect student achievement and their disparate distribution among different racial/ethnic and income groups.
A recent report from the Civil Rights Project at UCLA finds that some of the basic assumptions of the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) are not working and may well be making things worse. “Why High Stakes Accountability Sounds Good but Doesn't Work-- And Why We Keep on Doing It Anyway” looks at whether the accountability system endorsed by NCLB is likely to succeed or fail, and whether it is compatible with what researchers across the country have learned about the conditions needed for lasting school reforms.
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.
August 31, 2009: Trial is scheduled to begin in McCleary v. State of Washington.
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