June 2009
In This Issue
The Hon. Terry L. Bullock, a recently retired Kansas trial judge, addressed a plenary session of the attendees at the Ninth Annual Quality Education Conference in Washington, D.C., on May 8, 2009. Judge Bullock is best known for his trial court decisions concerning the constitutionality of the school funding system in Kansas. Judge Bullock candidly-and with humor and insight-gave a succinct and enlightening history of Kansas school funding litigation and the role he played in shaping the cases and the remedies. Judge Bullock also spoke out against attempts to deprive courts of the authority to enforce their orders ...
On April 15, 2009, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Martin S. Agran issued his decision that plaintiffs in the Chicago Urban League et al. v. State of Illinois and Illinois State Board of Education case had stated a valid claim of discriminatory disparate impact under the Illinois Civil Rights Act of 2003. The Court recognized that the Plaintiffs' case “presents vitally important issues to the people and State of Illinois” and that “Plaintiffs documented gaps in achievement between one school and another, and disparities in funding between one school district and another.” The Court's opinion highlights some striking facts about Illinois' inequitable school funding system ...
In a decision issued May 28, 2009, the New Jersey Supreme Court upheld the state's new school funding formula, the School Funding Reform Act of 2008, but warned that the state must fully fund the formula and reassess it after three years of implementation. The court underscored the need to prevent the “deplorable” state of unequal education in the past “to recur in our school districts.” Education Law Center, which represents the school children in New Jersey's lowest wealth communities ...
The Indiana Supreme Court has rejected a lawsuit that claimed the state is violating the education clause of its constitution by failing to provide enough money for all school children to have a quality educational opportunity. The court issued a 4-1 decision June 2, 2009, ruling that while the state constitution requires a general and uniform system of public schools, it does not mandate judicially enforceable quality standards.
In April, the National Institute of Early Education Research at Rutgers (NIEER) released the sixth edition of its annual analysis of state-funded preschool programs, The State of Preschool 2008. This latest edition shows impressive expansion in preschool enrollment and spending. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan joined NIEER Director Steve Barnett for the yearbook release. “Early childhood education is an economic stimulus package,” he told the crowd. Duncan underscored the need for ...
Several prominent advocacy organizations are calling on US Education Secretary Arne Duncan to immediately adopt procedures to facilitate public awareness and participation in decisions related to the distribution of federal fiscal stabilization funds by states. In a May 21 letter, advocates expressed concern that the current USDOE application process for states to request initial stabilization funds under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) “lacks transparency in basic respects, and does not afford the public with notice and the opportunity to review and provide comment on the states' proposed distribution of stabilization funds through the respective state K-12 funding formulas.”
In a letter to US Education Secretary Arne Duncan on June 2, the Education Law Center asked the Secretary to reject New Jersey's application for federal education stimulus funding because the State does not propose to fund increases and “equity and adequacy” adjustments in its new school funding formula. “The ARRA is quite clear on how stabilization funds are to be used for fiscal years 2009 to 2011,” said David Sciarra, ELC Executive Director and author of the letter to Secretary Duncan. “New Jersey does not intend to fund state funding formula increases, including 'equity and adequacy adjustments,' as the ARRA requires.”
June 9, 2009 Oral Argument in Lobato v. State of Colorado is scheduled for 9:00 a.m. MDT (11:00 a.m. EDT).
June 18, 2009 Forum on Educational Accountability briefing for U.S. Senate, 2:00 p.m., Dirksen Senate Office Building G-11.
June 19, 2009 Forum on Educational Accountability briefing for U.S. House of Representatives, 10:00 a.m., Rayburn House Office Building 2257.
August 31, 2009 The McCleary v. State of Washington lawsuit is scheduled to go to trial.
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