June 2010 Issue:
Resources:
Embezzlement, violence, nepotism, and a nightclub -- it reads like an advertisement for a blockbuster movie, but what follows is simply a chronicle of some recent charter school scandals. Due to state regulations and oversight, public school leaders do not have the same opportunities to commit these offenses.
Plaintiffs recently filed suit against the State of California, alleging that its school funding system violates the state constitution. Court proceedings are also ongoing in New Jersey, Washington, Florida, Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, and Rhode Island, while Kansas plaintiffs have provided a required notice of intention to file suit.
In addition to people and institutions, like schools, that receive state funding for services, state and municipal employees are reeling from major budget cuts in most states. From children to seniors and people with disabilities, and from libraries to state parks, many services and programs have been curtailed or even ended.
As federal education policy pushes states to tie teacher pay to student test scores, research indicates that this approach is unlikely to improve student learning. Recent studies of merit pay programs in Chicago and New York did not find improved scores. Moreover, proven ways to improve teaching quality may offer better options.
“My school looks and feels like a prison” reports a Baltimore City student. “I can take the time to prepare a terrific lesson plan, accounting for different learning styles, and... I can spend hours preparing materials for an engaging hands-on activity. But none of this really matters to students when it's above 90 degrees in the classroom,” a Baltimore City teacher explains.
Buildings for Academic Excellence urges city and state leaders, with community support, to modernize city school buildings. A valuable resource for advocates across the country, this new report by the ACLU of Maryland's Education Reform Project also cites courts in numerous states to contend that the state constitutional guarantee of an adequate education includes school facilities that support a modern academic curriculum.
High Court Decision Anticipated
Plaintiffs still await a decision from the South Carolina Supreme Court in Abbeville County Sch. Dist. v. State of South Carolina, which was argued over two years ago.
June 29, 2010
“Enhancing School and Family Capacity to Support Student Success” the fourth event in a series entitled “Transforming ESEA: Helping Public Schools Improve,” presented by the Forum on Educational Accountability (FEA), features Elaine Allensworth, Dennis L. Shirley, Joyce L. Epstein, Gary M. Ratner, and Reginald M. Felton, Washington, DC. Register.
July 2010
Launch of new Education Justice website. Be on the lookout for this exciting announcement!
July 2010
Molly A. Hunter will be speaking to a Pennsylvania Bar Association Committee considering changes to the state constitution 's education clause, Harrisburg, PA.
TBA 2010
Education Law Center will release a new national report card on fair school funding.
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


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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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