May 2009
In This Issue
Resources
In an April ruling based on a trial last September, in Davis v. State of South Dakota, Circuit Court Judge Lori S. Wilbur concluded that the educational system in South Dakota is “adequate.”
In response to the opinion, plaintiffs lead counsel, Scott Abdallah, said, “Our goal from the beginning was to bring this issue before the South Dakota Supreme Court. Today's preliminary decision, if it does nothing else, paves the way for achieving that goal. This is the first step in what we knew would be a long and important road to travel.”
On April 28, 2009, attorneys for New Jersey's low -income, urban schoolchildren and the state of New Jersey presented their oral arguments to the state supreme court, and the parties now await a decision that will set the course for the future of the Abbott districts.
 
Five years after a landmark Educational Testing Service (ETS) study identified racial/ethnic and income gaps in 14 life conditions and experiences that are associated with academic success, a new analysis acknowledges little progress in closing these critical gaps.
Released April 30, 2009, Parsing the Achievement Gap II updates a 2003 study, Parsing the Achievement Gap: Baselines for Tracking Progress. The updated report identifies factors ranging from birth weight and hunger to lead poisoning, parental involvement, and teaching quality that are related to academic performance. The report then looks at whether these key factors were distributed evenly across different racial/ethnic and income groups.
The new report concludes, “... the finding that these critical gaps in the life and school experiences of minority and low-income children still mirror gaps in school achievement as they did five years ago is very troubling and shows how much work there is to do and how early we need to start. And we have to start with a clear recognition of the depth of the causes of achievement gaps, and expand the scope of our efforts to eliminate them both inside and outside the schools.”
In the ongoing Moore v. State of Alaska case, Superior Court Judge Sharon Gleason ruled in February that the state continues to deny students the education they are guaranteed under the Alaska Constitution. Although she did not order the state to implement preschool programs, she urged that high quality pre-K be “considered and used as a case-specific measure to remedy a constitutional violation.”
Judge Gleason gave the state 60 days to file district intervention plans that incorporate appropriate remedial measures to address constitutional violations in underperforming districts, including insufficient early learning interventions. The state is expected to file these plans with the court mid-May, and the plaintiffs' responses to those plans will be due mid-June.
Our readers in Washington, D.C., and anyone attending the 9th Annual Quality Education Conference on May 7-8, 2009, may be interested in the following event and exhibit related to the education crisis in our urban centers. Critical Exposure will be presenting its 4th Annual “Through the Lens of D.C. Youth” Photography Exhibit.
The exhibit will be held at the downtown ARTiculate Gallery (1100 16th St. NW) from May 4th-15th. The opening night event is on Wednesday, May 6th from 6:30-9:00pm. To RSVP for the event, click here.
May 7-8, 2009
“Strengthening Opportunities to Learn in Challenging Economic Times,” the 9th Annual Quality Education Conference in 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.


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