June 2008
In This Issue

Education Justice supports advocates, policymakers, attorneys and others, in states across the nation, who are working to strengthen and improve public schools and close opportunity gaps, especially for low-income and minority schoolchildren.

Education Justice played a part in bringing about a plaintiffs' school funding victory in May. The Indiana Court of Appeals, in a section of its opinion entitled “Sister States,” relied on “the flood of out-of-state cases... incorporated in the Amicus brief,” and overruled the trial court's dismissal of the Bonner v. Daniels case, finding plaintiffs' claims “clearly justiciable and subject to judicial review...”
Molly Hunter, director of Education Justice, and Ellen Boylan, director of Starting at 3, were authors of the amicus brief, along with Amanda Adler of the Rural School and Community Trust.
In an amicus curiae brief filed this month in the South Carolina Supreme Court, the League of Women Voters of South Carolina and the South Carolina Conference of the NAACP urge the Court to uphold a state trial court order directing the legislature to provide pre-kindergarten for at-risk children. The League and NAACP, represented by Education Law Center (ELC) through its Starting at 3 project, vigorously defend the court's order regarding early childhood interventions, which represents a major victory for South Carolina schoolchildren and proponents of quality preschool education.
Members of the Building Educational Success Together collaborative (BEST) and the Economic Policy Institute successfully lobbied the U.S. House of Representatives to invest billions of dollars into improving the conditions of school facilities across the nation. The advocacy and communications efforts included the recently released report, Good Buildings, Better Schools: An economic stimulus opportunity with long-term benefits, written for EPI by Mary Filardo, Executive Director for the 21st Century School Fund (a member of the BEST collaborative).
In response to this push from advocacy groups, the House passed the 21st Century Green High-Performing Public Schools Facilities Act.
The legal profession in Pennsylvania boldly took a public stand on education funding. Both the Pennsylvania Bar Association and the Philadelphia Bar Association have passed resolutions urging Governor Rendell and the state legislature to enact an education funding formula to provide adequate funding for all students in all school districts. Based on the persistent work of Michael Churchill of the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia and Janet Stotland of Education Law Center (Pennsylvania), this action demonstrates another model of advocacy that attorneys can add to their arsenal-speaking publicly as a profession, organization, or institution to persuade and educate the government (and the public) about school funding reform.
If policymakers want to successfully address achievement gaps in our nation's schools, they must develop a more complete understanding of those gaps and examine a broader range of measures, according to a report issued in May by Educational Testing Service and written by Paul E. Barton and Richard J. Coley of ETS's Policy Information Center.
Windows on Achievement and Inequality examines data that can help policymakers create and implement informed policies and practices to close achievement gaps.
The NEW JERSEY LAWYER, a New Jersey weekly newspaper for lawyers, recently published a feature about Education Law Center's national advocacy projects, including interviews with Education Justice Director Molly Hunter, Starting At 3 Director Ellen Boylan, and Education Law Center Executive Director David Sciarra.
Send announcements of upcoming events for the Education Justice calendar to: edjustice@edlawcenter.org.

The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children.


Email: info@educationjustice.org

Phone: (973) 624-1815

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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