June 2011 Issue:
Taxpayer-funded vouchers for private and parochial schools have raised their ugly heads again. They're the darling of governors and some legislators in Wisconsin, Florida, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere. But their track record is one of consistent failure.
Ben Jealous, President of the NAACP, recently delivered an inspiring speech at the annual Education Justice Lecture at Rutgers University, in New Jersey. Mr. Jealous discussed pressing issues including over-incarceration and the re-segregation of public schools. He also focused on the importance of addressing resource and opportunity gaps, and urged audience members to fight back against regressive changes happening both within education and in the broader society.
Legal efforts to ensure quality public education remained the key focus at this year's Litigators' Workshop, "Winning Equal Educational Opportunity for All," sponsored by Education Justice at Education Law Center (ELC) and generously hosted by Davis Graham & Stubbs (DGS) last week in Denver. DG&S serves as pro bono counsel in Colorado's educational opportunity case, Lobato v. State.
The Student Bill of Rights, H.R. 1295, re-introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman Chaka Fattah, has received the endorsement of 33 educational, parental, religious and civil rights organizations, including the Education Law Center. The letter of support came from organizations that have long reinforced efforts to ensure that all children have a "fair, equal, and significant opportunity to obtain a high-quality education." (quoting the Elementary and Secondary Education Act)
In the most recent Michigan Law Review, Stanford Law Professor William S. Koski reviews two books, written from mostly opposing views, on the role of the courts in K-12 school finance disputes. Michael A. Rebell, in Courts & Kids: Pursuing Educational Equity through the State Courts, promotes a more robust role for state courts in protecting children's constitutional rights to educational opportunity, while Eric A. Hanushek and Alfred A. Lindseth argue in Schoolhouses, Courthouses, and Statehouses: Solving the Funding-Achievement Puzzle in America's Public Schools that courts should play a bare minimalist role.
The supreme courts of Washington and South Dakota will rule on appeals in educational opportunity and adequacy/equity cases. Plaintiffs won in the trial court in Washington, and defendants won in the trial court in South Dakota.
Plaintiffs still await a decision from the South Carolina Supreme Court in the educational opportunity case Abbeville v. State, which was argued before the court three years ago.
June 23, 2011 - The federal educational Equity Commission will host a Community Conversation, Jackson, MS, 6:00 PM. Submissions in writing are welcome, whether or not you are able to attend.
June 28, 2011 - Oral argument on the state defendants' appeal in McCleary, WA.
June 30, 2011 - Oral argument on the state defendants' Writ of Prohibition in Citizens for Strong Schools v. State in the 1st District Court of Appeal, Tallahassee, FL.
June 30, 2011 - The deadline for passing budgets in many states across the nation.
July 1, 2011 - Oral argument on the state defendants' motion for judgment on the pleading in Robles-Wong v. State and Citizens for Quality Education v. State, CA.
July 28-31, 2011 - Save Our Schools March, including a rally on July 30 at The Eclipse, 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


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